Creating Confident Leaders - When It All Gets Too Much, Help To Build Your Resilience

Uncategorized Jun 26, 2020

Hello everyone

How are you?

We all ask and hear that phrase so often and I guess many of us still say things like “fine” or “yes, good” or “as well as can be expected” or “OK thanks, how are you?, even when we are having one of those days when it feels like everything is falling apart..  Its such a standard question with lots of standard responses which we have subconsciously stacked up over the years and repeat habitually with little or no thought.   We have been made aware of the fact that sharing how we really are and acknowledging our struggles and vulnerabilities are key to sound mental health and we are making great progress.  Last week we saw Mens Mental Health Awareness Week part of a whole range of Mental Health Awareness raising and its so important we keep on with this.   However, there is still so much more to do and in my experience, those in leadership positions can still struggle to take care of themselves as well as others, so, today I want to talk about leadership “when it all gets too much” and how you can cope as a leader and still maintain your mental, physical and emotional health.

Conversations with a number of my coachees and groups this week seem to have thrown out a common theme of leaders realising that remobilising their people is going to be far more complicated than the original lockdown.  The phrases I have heard this week include:-

“So frustrated”, “I’m all over the place”, “huge mountain to climb and so much to factor in”, “people are really emotional”, “some people taking such a narrow view”’ “no accountability, no decisions, so much uncertainty and it feels chaotic”  and “it’s all getting a bit much”.

I know that for most of you even to say “its all getting a bit much” is hard, because you feel you are supposed to lead by coping and dealing with the situation, so I want to say, its ok to feel this, its ok to be vulnerable, its ok to struggle – this does not make you a poor leader, in fact the opposite.  You are human and its holding onto your humanity that will make you an even better leader.  We need to be develop the resilience to deal with extreme circumstances and to do that we need to be ok with the struggle.

Here are some other tips which I have used and worked on with my coachees to help build and foster your resilience at this time

 

  • Acknowledgement – as I said above and we all know, being aware of and acknowledging how you are feeling is key to dealing with it.  So say it!  Say it to yourself “it’s getting a bit much today and that’s ok because I know that and now I can decide how to deal with it”.  This is my phrase, and please find your own, but please say something about both how you feel and that its ok to know that because now you can find a way of dealing with it.  The words have more impact if you say them aloud, so even if you are talking to yourself say the words aloud if you can – it may feel a bit weird but its powerful!

 

  • Develop a set of simple strategies for helping yourself, these can include:-
  • Focusing on gratitude and the things that bring you happiness – these can include the smallest things – Family, friends and loved ones, birds, animals flowers, the natural world in any form are some of the most common. So many people have told me how grateful they have been for their garden or walks in nature during this time.   It is true that its very hard to feel gratitude and fear/anxiety at the same time (you may remember this in an earlier blog), so consciously focusing on the things you are grateful for and make you happy really makes a difference;
  • BREATHE – many of us know the power of breath practices such as yoga, but even if you do not have a specific practice, taking a few deep breaths is calming and also brings oxygen to your brain and helps you think better;
  • Move – we have been curtailed in the types of exercise that we are able to take during lockdown but we can all find a way of moving (even if its just getting up from your desk, stretching or walking around inside). Movement helps to break a stress pattern and allows you to calm down;
  • Reach out to people who can help you to talk things through and settle your thinking. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have trusted thinking partners in your life.  These can be your own team, your coach or mentor, peers who you trust or members of a mastermind group/action learning/coaching group.  Many leaders I know and work with are members of such groups (some of them on my programmes), and I know first hand just how valuable such groups are.   So if you have access to any of these resources – USE them.

These are some very simple and accessible tips to help you and I will be talking more about resilience in future blogs and providing more resources including our free facebook group, (watch out for your invitation to join), to help you all to develop your resilience and take care of yourself, so you can thrive in your leadership role and be confident you are leading at your best during this shift we are experiencing.

Take very good care of yourselves and I hope this is helpful

Warmest regards

 Lois

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Warmest regards

Lois