Leading Through Uncertainty: Overcoming Anxiety and Showing Compassion

Together, we are all facing challenges in how we deal with the impact of COVID-19, at home and at work. This pandemic has brought on unprecedented change to our society and economy that is evolving at a rapid pace.

From an organization standpoint, this pandemic adds an extra layer of complexity to business leaders who are trying to balance safeguarding their companies while also supporting their workforce. With no playbook on how to navigate through the unprecedented change our business climate is facing, anxiety levels are rising.

A common question I’ve been asked lately is how to overcome anxiety in this climate. Below are some tips that I hope will help you.

Give yourself and your team specific actions to focus on

Start with yourself because if you aren’t managing your own anxiety, it will be challenging to support others through theirs. While you may be facing a lot of unknowns right now, what do you know for sure? For example, you may not know when you’ll be back in the office, but you do know you’ll be using virtual platforms to run your teams and business for the foreseeable future. Knowing that, what action do you need to take to do that most effectively?

Compassion is critical

As a leader, connection is a great place to demonstrate care and compassion. Have virtual touch points often with your team and, for now, let these be less about status updates and more about connecting and sharing what’s on everyone’s mind and how you can be a support to one another.

Compassion might also mean taking some pressure off your team right now. Where can you place some ease and space in the system while everyone gets used to this new normal? Determine what is absolutely essential and let that be the focus. This won’t last forever and right now we’re adjusting to managing our family at home, our relationships at home, and our workload at home – all while worrying about everyone’s ongoing health and the state of our economy.  This is a lot to process. So, while we collectively adjust, try to create space while your teams – and the world – learn new ways of living and working in the world.

While we all must adjust and adapt to this new way of working, at least for the short-term, it’s important to remember that today’s response can shape tomorrow’s workforce. Leaders must demonstrate resilience and foster a working environment (whether in the office or virtually) that promotes psychological well-being in the work environment.

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