Leadership Support: 17 Tips for Challenging Times

Leadership Support 17 Tips for Challenging TimesMost of us are overwhelmed right now. There’s a lot to consider, to plan for, and to address. I put together this list of leadership strategies based on what I see happening with my clients to offer you some support. Don’t expect to do them all at once. Pick a couple and try to use them for a few days and see if they help. If they’re working, add in a couple more. We can do this!

  1. First, take care of yourself. Make sure you are doing all that helps you to maintain balance, including the things on this list.
  2. Establish routines – both personal and professional. Routines help to ease anxiety about the unknown.
  3. Don’t schedule more than 1.5 hours without a break. Science says our brains don’t function as well without it.
  4. Use a combination of email, phone, and video (replacing in person) to create variety and break up the sameness.
  5. Set weekly goals and a way to track them. Not anything big, more like a daily tracker for projects and tasks. Hold yourself accountable and encourage others to do the same.
  6. When talking with employees, refrain from black and white thinking – “all or nothing,” keeps people in the neutral zone.
  7. Discourage catastrophizing. Yes, the situation is not good, however, we can manage.
  8. Sometimes playing out worst-case scenarios for people helps them understand that there is a way to handle it and plans can be made to mitigate it.
  9. If your team members are fearful, ask questions to test the reality of those fears. Often fears are far worse than the actual situation.
  10. Empathize with others but don’t encourage negative thinking. “I can understand how you might feel that way, what else have you thought about as an alternative,” can be a reframe.
  11. Leave white space on your calendar, but with a note not to schedule you, at least 2-3 times per day. It’s your drive-by time to pick up the phone/face time and “visit” with anyone you feel like. A 5- or 10-minute pick me up to help you relax and reconnect.
  12. Remember it’s okay not to be perfect. Perfection is an illusion anyway!
  13. Listen, Listen, Listen. Don’t move to solve mode, listen to learn, and help others solve their own problems – with a little nudge sometimes.
  14. Set aside 5 minutes at the end of every day for a self-debrief – what went well, what didn’t go well and what will you do differently tomorrow. No self-criticism, just a realistic look at the day and your participation in it. Don’t “should” on yourself.
  15. Celebrate the small wins – home runs will be few and far between, (especially without baseball!), so just get on first base for now and acknowledge how good that is, because it is.
  16. Mistakes happen, failures lead to better outcomes. Without them, we would have no idea how to create and innovate.
  17. The burden of the world is not on your shoulders. No one can solve anything completely alone. We can only make it better together.

I hope these strategies will support your leadership during these challenging times.