How To Be A Grounded Leader During Confusing, Complex Times
Life can be uncertain, confusing and complex at the best of times. Now, with COVID-19, ever more so! There’s no way of predicting what tomorrow will bring. It’s not easy remaining calm, centered and balanced.
Do powerful leaders of nations and corporations feel fear, panic, or indecision, like we do? Of course! What sets them apart is that they’ve discovered tools that help them remain grounded under adversity. (Stay tuned – we’re making available to you one of these powerful tools, at the end of this article.)
As leaders, we know that our teams, organizations, and clients are relying on us to stay grounded, and this helps us rise to each new challenge. We know they’re looking to us for clues on when to press forward and when to hold back. And that’s not always easy under pressure, because pressure immediately impacts our personal focus, and if not controlled, will disorient our business focus.
As in all emergency situations, we must help ourselves first. We can’t help ground someone else, until we’re grounded ourselves. Losing our grounding usually manifests itself in one of two ways: 1) we don’t stand up for ourselves when we should or 2) we try to control others. Let’s examine how being a grounded leader can help you avoid either extreme.
1. Strengthen these areas to stand up for yourself
- Keep your vision clear. If you see a tendency within yourself to let others take over, then it’s time to shore up your vision.
- How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: By breaking down your vision into goals, and then into mini tasks, you’ll be able to see and clearly articulate the purpose behind each task. This certain knowledge gives you conviction. You’re ready if someone tries to sidetrack you.
- Communicate what you want and expect. Mindfulness helps you be aware of what’s happening in the Now and how you’re responding to it. For example, automatically saying “Yes” to avoid stress will cause more stress in the long term.
- How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Mindfully review your recent decisions and commitments. Were they aligned with your purpose? Where, why, and to whom, did you give in? When was it easiest to hold your ground? Take note of where you want to respond differently and train your brain to respond more intentionally in the future.
- Maintain flexibility. Strive to bend without breaking, while at the same time, holding your ground over things you really believe in.
- How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: As you begin each day, review your to-do list and mindfully identify what you’re willing to compromise and what’s a deal breaker. Listen to your gut, but question it thoroughly. Your gut can be overly protective. Remove attachment to specific outcomes. Allow your ideas room to grow, so you can pivot when needed.
2. Strengthen these areas to support others:
- View others as collaborators. Sometimes, we confuse leadership with control. The only person you control is YOU.
- How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Comparisons between people are seldom helpful. Maintain a realistic view of yourself…you can’t go it alone and you’re not better than others. Get to know your team as individuals; learn their strengths and weaknesses. Then assign them work that allows them to showcase their expertise. This engenders respect, trust and sparks creativity. All of this reflects well on your leadership and will increase your bottom line.
- Deepen your awareness of how others feel. Whether you call it empathy or compassion, this goes a long way in building strong relationships and alliances.
- How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: There’s no place in business today for, “It’s my way or the highway!” On some days people need to be pushed to do their best work; other days they need to be nurtured and allowed to rest. And the only way you’re going to know what kind of day today is, is if you connect with others daily and empathically. Ask for honest feedback and accept it with gratitude, not judgment. People need to be heard and you need to hear what they’re saying. An unbreakable loyalty will result and they won’t try to undermine your leadership.
- Nurture curiosity in yourself and others. Curiosity involves actively opening your eyes to see, your ears to listen, and your mind to comprehend.
- How this contributes toward being a grounded leader: Being an active learner keeps you from becoming defensive, because you’re open to new ideas, new ways of doing things, new perspectives. You have nothing to prove and everything to learn. Everyone stays inspired and it leads to more understanding and tolerance.
We are constantly buffeted by winds of change. As Newave Leaders, we work to maintain our strength, while staying flexible enough to bend. What helps us stay grounded? It’s a 3-Part Daily Visualization Process. It gets each day off to a good start and assists you to make necessary course corrections through the day. We invite you to add these amazing free tools to your “toolbox” of leadership skills.