Recently, I’ve been reflecting on what life has been like since March. Take a moment and reflect on some of your own concerns and conversations over the past several months. Maybe they’ve been about the economy, COVID, racism, or the upcoming election. Regardless of your walk of life, these concerns have created a tremendous amount of uncertainty for all of us. In light of all the uncertainty we are facing, it is more important than ever to take time to proactively develop our leadership skills.
The way we choose to lead in times of uncertainty can determine how quickly we bounce back from life’s challenges. Resilience is a crucial leadership skill we need to thrive in times like these, and I believe there are four resiliency behaviors that can help us do just that.
1. Be ready for change. Change has the potential to be good — for everybody. Adopt a mindset to be open to this. Good leaders embrace change with courage and compassion and prepare their organizations for it. In normal times we tend to hold onto information tightly, but I believe during uncertain times, we must relax that grip and lean into agility and adaptability. I think that will be the theme for 2021 – working and adapting to the changing environment. Whether its changes due to school schedules, election results, or the economy — the healthiest way to proceed is to loosen that tight grip and be adaptable.
2. Care for your body. Not long ago, I was reading a post by Warren Buffet where he asked “If you were 16 and got your first car and somebody told you that this is the only car you will have for the rest of your life, how would you take care of it?” Without a doubt, every single one of us would be painstakingly cleaning, waxing, checking the tire pressure, changing the fluids, and adhering to every word recommended by the automaker. Now ask yourself, ‘What about my body (the only body you’ll have for life)?’ The root causes of uncertain times are often beyond our control, which can make stress — and its effect on the brain and body — more intense. What are you doing to maintain your physical and emotional wellbeing? Eating well, exercising, sleeping enough, playing with your kids, taking time for selfcare — these types of activities nurture your mind, body, and spirit, and are a vital step in building resilience.
3. Have meaningful conversations. Both professional and personal relationships depend on conversations. Engaging in meaningful conversations enables us to find common ground with each other. Most people are dealing with complexities that we don’t even know about, so we need to dial up the compassion, concern and understanding and try to meet people where they are. Have the courage to go below the waterline, dig in, and explore. The goal is to listen and learn, not critique and judge.
4. Be a learner. This is one of my favorites. I believe life is so much more fun to go through when we’re learners. When we’re curious, asking questions, and taking time to read about cool stuff, it invigorates us. Those around us are inspired and motivated when we’re in a learner mode. Leaders with a learning mindset are more mentally primed to increase their competence, seek out feedback, and exert more of an effort. They are also persistent, adaptable, willing to cooperate, and tend to perform at a higher levels.
I hope these four behaviors will help you thrive and live into your potential.
What are some of the behaviors you’re leaning into to build resilience and lead through uncertain times?