You’re not alone if you’re leading a team in uncertain times.
Everyone reacts to change differently and as a leader, you need to be prepared for that. Some of your team might be paralyzed with anxiety, others who seem the most solid, may be heading toward a meltdown.
What you need to know is that depending on life experiences, acceptance isn’t the same for everyone, nor is timing.
How to Lead When Fear Takes Over
Typically, when people are afraid, they tend to go into survivor mode, thinking the worst can happen. “What if I lose my job, get sick, or I’m not able to provide for my family?”
As a leader in times of high uncertainty, it’s important to talk with your team about the things you can control, not what you can’t. In crisis mode, there’s a ton of speculation which fuels fear, doubt, and worry. Even your strongest supporters can become unglued.
So who can you depend on in tough times? You might be surprised.
Look at people in your work environment who are calm and levelheaded and ask them to take a leadership role on your team. If you’ve been wondering what the best course of action is for moving forward, understand that it’s not always a logical thought process. Check in with your instincts and connect with trusted members of your circle for feedback, then make a decision.
All effective leaders have a plan, and it doesn’t have to be an elaborate one or set in stone. A plan calms fears and lets your team know that you’re prepared for the challenge, even if it zigs and zags. Leaders who are transparent in their communication admit that they don’t know all the answers. Who does? Guide your team with respect and honesty, and they’ll have confidence in you.
Fear limits the human spirit. When people are afraid, they close down and devote their energy to protecting themselves, and their loved ones. Survivor mode becomes a place of safety, and it’s far more comfortable than navigating blind-folded through a crisis, and looking beyond to imagine what’s next.
Right now, there’s an enormous opportunity to shift our thinking and reinvent our vision for what our lives and our companies will look like, in the not too distant future. Are we up for the challenge of turning fear into creative energy, to inspire positive action without boundaries?
Thoughts become reality, so remember that words have power, and that your mindset can influence others for the greater good. Use it as a communications tool to lead your team forward, not to go down the rabbit hole.
No one knows tomorrow’s news, so be cautiously optimistic about a quick economic turnaround. When the time comes to re-open business safely, you’ll be prepared, ready to accelerate your plans, and your team will follow.
Fear is just a four-letter word, but then again, so is lead. Which one will you choose?