We all have the innate ability to lead, however, whilst some leaders have learned to harness these traits during difficult or challenging times others struggle to make an impact or to be effective under the same circumstances. There is a peculiar aspect of ‘change’ and dealing with uncertainty that for many leaders inhibits their ways of thinking and resorts them to abandon more ‘habit-based behaviours’ (CIO.com) which directly affects how they communicate and influence the people around them.
In times of change, leaders who can influence and have an impact on motivation, engagement and team performance often focus on doing two things: building resilience and practising mindfulness.
‘Change’ and ‘Stress’ have something in common – people try to avoid them. Resilience is the ability to withstand, however, also more importantly to recover and grow in the face of stressors and changing demands. Highly effective leaders learn how to bounce-back during times of stress rather than to try to avoid the situation altogether. It is therefore a leader’s ability to accept and face the situation that they are in that will then pave the way for the right leadership behaviours to fall into place.
Every effective leader should be mindful of the impact change has, not only on their teams but also for themselves. Mindfulness is a common practice in modern day leadership development and coaching for those who are looking to gather a stronger hold over their self-awareness capabilities. It allows you to become conscious of your thoughts, actions and emotions as they arise. Paying close attention to your inner and outer worlds enables you to become clear and present in particular moments, such as when dealing with change or uncertainty, and allows you to observe yourself in your day-to-day interactions with both your teams and wider colleagues.
There are a variety of variables that help leaders to thrive in difficult circumstances, some of which are external such as; your relationships with your peers; having a good work-life balance; and job security. However, these factors are mainly out of your control and so it is time better spent focusing on what you can control, such as your own personal development. Increasing your resilience, mindfulness, internal locus of control and confidence levels will lay the foundation for becoming a well-rounded leader who is effectively able to lead through change or uncertainty.
Joshua Gorecki – Senior Client Partner, INTOO UK and Ireland