Navigating through difficult times

In a time of uncertainty, discomfort, or fear, it is the right time to focus your attention and energies on being responsive to all of the unpredictable situations that lie ahead. It’s a wide-spread crisis; however, when you rise to the occasion, you will realize just how effective and resilient a leader you are, says Laurie Martin.

Athletes tell us that muscles get stronger from working against resistance. The same is true for your mind, body, spirit and who you are. Treat this unprecedented challenge as a time to make your greatest progress – as a leader and as a human being.

People define themselves by their personal exter- nal circumstances. Focus on others when life throws us a curve. People face isolation, loneliness and feel helpless. They continue to believe they need to be who they once were. Go in the opposite direction. Listen inwardly to your beliefs and values. You can become a source of confidence for everyone around you.

Employees, members, colleagues, friends and families are frightened. Fear can distance people. As a leader, you can keep your people connected by let- ting them know you care while taking care of your- self. The mind can become overwhelmed and your body tired which can reduce focus and control.

Here are some things to consider during these stressful days:

Be a focussed and thoughtful leader

  • Step back and objectively accessing the overall situation.
  • Make sure you consider who might be affected, physically or emotionally. Try to see the situation from their perspective.
  • Let others know you’re all in this together. Ask how you can help them, what their needs are at this time, and what information they need will be helpful. Put their needs first by working collabo- ratively.
  • Use all available resources, including tools, sys- tems, personnel and capabilities
  • Focus and prioritize on what is most important today and what can be done at a later date.
  • Forget the complaints you may be hearing and focus on your gratitude

Communicate clearly, calmly and regularly

  • Provide regular updates and support about your organization and its people.
  • Tell them what you’re doing to keep them safe.
  • Let them know when you expect things to hap-
    pen, when applicable.
  • Rather than using words like in the foreseeable
    future, or we will just have to wait and see, let them know when you will provide the next update.
  • Offer the good news with the bad news. Include the stats of how many people have recovered, or where the virus seems to be waning.
  • Send a quote or message of reassurance.
  • Listen without judgement, not to minimize one’s thoughts and feelings.

Take a break from the news

  • With many people home from work and school, others in self-isolation, and limited shopping and recreation, it’s easy to just sit there and be constantly bombarded with international news and sensational stories of the pandemic. Keep a healthy mind by watching TV or listening to the news in doses
  • There are maps and 24-hour COVID-19 updates online, on television and on apps. It’s really all there is in the news these days. Yes, knowledge is power and we have to be vigilant to mitigate the spread, but once-a-day updates will give you the information you need.
  • Fear and anxiety is prevalent, choose mindful thinking in terms of staying strong to get through each day.
  • You have faced challenges and opportunities. In these times of the unknown, the complexities, confusion and crisis that you are facing, provides you with greater opportunities than ever.
  • Key point, don’t worry about revenue; focus on creating value – solutions that help eliminate dangers and capture opportunities, and reinforce their strengths. With this focus, revenue will naturally follow.

Let’s take a moment for yourself

  • Reflect on previous situations that were challeng- ing in your career. On a piece of paper draw a line on a piece of paper. On the left side of the start line, write down the year you were born. Then as you go along the line to the right, write the year you had something frightening that hap- pened to you. You may have three to five situa- tions to record.
    • Who was your support?
    • What was said that helped?
    • What was said that didn’t help?
    • What steps did you take to help you through this time?
    • How did you take control and got through your situation?

Risk Management and Crisis Education
Your club may already have a risk deterrence plan tied in with emergency response. Your leadership is key to making it through times like this. Stay focussed, resililant, stay safe and take control of the situation. You are a mindful leader by including your team when planning new actions and protocols. Your verbal and written communication and action will show your true strength and provide a sense of purposeful leadership during these days of the unknown.

Article published in Clubhouse Europe issue 19