Listen to the full podcast episode to learn about the science-backed practice that has not only changed my life but also the lives of countless people over the last two decades. This is something you can’t ignore if you want to achieve that great goal you identified for this year and write your new future.
Uncertainty is wreaking havoc in our offices and homes. For the last few years, we couldn’t even be sure what would happen 48 hours from now. This tension ultimately destroys performance, connection, and the contributions we’re here to make. It’s important that we become better leaders for these uncertain times so that we become part of the solution rather than unwittingly contributing to it.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to appear on Oprah, but not for the reason that someone like me would dream of. When my oldest daughter was 10, she was interviewed by a popular conscious parent coach named Dr. Shaefali for a two-part series on relationships between parents and children.
During the taping, my daughter shared that sometimes when she talks to me about feeling the pressure, she doesn’t always need me to go into working mode on how to solve the problem; sometimes, she just needs a hug and the reassurance that it will be okay.
This internationally humbling experience made me realize that while I was trying to be a present and considerate, loving mother, I was too focused on fixing things and putting out fires. Even as a teenager, when she came to me with a struggle, I found myself trying to solve the problem instead of just being there to support her.
It took some time for me to realize that I was busy trying to fix something that she wasn’t asking me to fix. I was likely pushing my own agenda to get things accomplished or attempting to remove her pain because of what I may have interpreted that meant about me as her mother.
What’s more, I realized that each time she came to talk to me and I was providing ways to fix her struggle, I was actually making her MORE uncertain and insecure.
What does this have to do with becoming an effective leader who engages and empowers individuals, teams, or cultures to achieve great things together?
When I talk to top performers, experts, and leaders, they often say the same thing my daughter said: “My manager doesn’t get it. He doesn’t listen. He’s not changing.” Or “She’s got her own way of doing things. She’s not interested.”
The worst part in these moments is not what’s said on the surface; it’s the underlying message that’s often interpreted and delivered when we try to solve their problems or fix things when they don’t ask us to. We may inadvertently send the message that we don’t believe in their abilities enough for them to figure it out on their own or that we are so insecure in ourselves that we need to provide solutions in order to take us out of our discomfort. Neither of these makes another more certain or more secure.
Why is this important?
Because insecurity masks wisdom.
Insecurity is a result of uncertainty. And insecurity blocks our wisdom, which leads directly to disengagement, disempowerment, and underperformance.
Insecurity leads to the very things we don’t want. Yet too often we are contributing to increasing uncertainty and insecurity without being aware of it. In this way, we contribute to the very problem we are seeking to solve.
In a survey of 3,400 people published in January 2023 by human resources software firm UKG, Inc., nearly 70% said bosses influenced their mental health as much as a spouse or partner. This figure does not surprise me but does confirm the importance of your role as a leader — especially in these uncertain times.
I know it’s not easy being a leader when there continues to be so much happening in our world. Take the swing of the markets, the decreased reliability on banks, shootings, and not to mention the host of things we face on a personal level; then you add the weight of knowing that you, as a leader, have that level of influence over others. Whether right or wrong, it’s real. It doesn’t mean your job is easy, but it does mean it’s important.
We spend 66% of our adult lives at work. This is why improving our ability to lead during uncertain times is so important. What you do, what you say, and how you treat others matters in ways you probably aren’t aware of. We must be conscious of the messages we send to those we lead and choose to be positively infectious leaders.
Nine out of the 10 people that you lead are not lacking the skill set or ability to make significant contributions. What gets in their way is not their skill set but their uncertainty and insecurity. We, as leaders, have an opportunity and responsibility to do what we can to help them break through it.
Inspiring confidence is key to managing people, especially in uncertain and changing times.
Now more than ever is the time to acknowledge the anxiety those around us may have, as well as to value their work. Not just their outcomes, but their efforts too.
I’m sharing with you three ways to lead in uncertain times so that you can create an empowered and engaged culture – one individual at a time.
3 Shifts to Make in Uncertain Times
- Have a process to grow your inner game. We have to have a strategy to process life. We can’t lead beyond ourselves. Being able to process our own stuff and become more self-aware is the #1 advantage. Your business and leadership grow in direct proportion to your growth.
- Know your intention: Ask yourself – “Am I speaking to cultivate the best version of the individual I am leading or my own agenda? Am I leading from my own insecurities or my wisdom?” Understand that when you take care of your people, business takes care of itself.
- Listen before leaning in & show appreciation. Validate the person’s feelings rather than trying to take them out of their struggle immediately. After that, ask better questions to help them access their own wisdom and eventually be able to do it independently. We also need to recognize people’s anxieties and the value that they bring and share that with them. People want to know that you know them, and we all need encouragement these days.
By making these shifts, you can be magnanimous and positively infectious wherever you are serving others.
In this episode, I share:
- A lesson I learned from my daughter to show how easy it is to unwittingly contribute to the very problems we are seeking to solve
- Why knowing how to lead in uncertain times is more critical than ever
- The three fundamentals that every leader should apply to engage and empower cultures, teams, individuals, and even children in these uncertain times
Resources and related episodes:
- Tune in to the previous episode, Making the Pivot You’ve Been Contemplating Real This Season
- Listen to episode 97: Embracing Fear Without Being Flattened By It
- Check out the book, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
- If you’d like to be notified of when new podcast episodes are released you can do so here Playing Full Out
- Learn more about the Playing Full Out Revolution
- Connect with Rita on LinkedIn
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About Rita Hyland
With over 20 years of experience as an executive and leadership coach, Rita helps leaders — emerging and established — excel in corporate and entrepreneurial environments.
Rita believes if leaders were more clear about how transformation really works and more intentional about creating what they want, their impact, success, and influence in the world would be unstoppable.
Through her coaching programs, private coaching, and masterminds, Rita shows leaders how to win consistently and create the impact and legacy they desire.
Central to Rita’s work is the understanding that you will never outperform your current programming, no matter how strong your willpower.
When you learn to use Rita’s proprietary Neuroleadership Growth Code, a technology that uses the best of neuroscience and transformational psychology to hit the brain’s buttons for change, YOU become both the solution and the strategy.
Her mission is to end talented, hard-working, and self-aware leaders spending another day stuck in self-doubt or confusion and not contributing their brilliant work and talent the world so desperately needs.