Get yourself a new vision
Without a view on how things will be, you don’t stand a chance of leading others or helping your team feel more confident about the future. Put yourself two years in the future, then look back.
- What is different?
- What are people doing to make your organisation successful?
- Who has been involved in achieving the success?
- Where has success come from?
Boost your productivity through more creative problem-solving
One of the biggest psychological factors in under-productivity tends to be routine and boredom. There is no time like the present to put the past away and break out of fixed thinking to find new alternatives. Make meetings more varied by introducing new topics. Ask yourself and your colleagues more ‘what if?’ and ‘what else?’ questions. Use mind-mapping and analogies to spot different and better ways of working.
Be more optimistic
After the global economic crisis, many people have been thrown into an optimism/pessimism dilemma, because nobody really knows how bad things will get. But remember, the things that you have most control over are your outlook and mindset. Avoid catastrophic thinking: ‘Oh no! This is truly awful!’ and try to look at ways that problems can be managed. This is often about identifying one practical, manageable step at a time.
Monitor your empathy
Your team and colleagues probably need a little more space and understanding than usual. Ironically, at times like this many businesses report increased levels of bullying and harassment. Why? Because we’re all concerned about the future, and that concern drives more extreme behaviour. Watch for signs of becoming more aggressive and less aware of others’ feelings. Aggression may achieve short-term results but it will damage relationships and derail leaders.
Recognise your reactions to bad news
We all struggle to maintain focus and energy when bad news arrives – and there’s a lot of that about at the moment. Set yourself the goal of understanding your reactions and spotting any unhelpful ways of thinking in response to the news. This is typically to exaggerate the scale of problems, to worry about them without finding a solution, or just to minimise the impact and deny that you will be affected. None of these reactions will help, so consider more helpful ways to think things through.
Enhance your motivation and drive
Bear in mind that one of the biggest predictors of leadership potential is having a high level of drive – a desire to make things happen, rather than allow them to happen to you. So what truly motivates you? Are you really feeling at your most motivated in your role? If not, what’s getting in the way? What could you change to improve your motivation?
Confront your beliefs
Adaptability and openness are also strong predictors of future leadership potential. List 10 things you believe to be true about your role. Then ask a colleague to disprove all of them. It may surprise you how easily a rigid belief can be undone.
Build your resilience
Being resilient will, for many managers and leaders, be of critical importance in years to come. Try to develop a range of simple techniques to boost resilience, such as standing back, reflecting, looking for solutions, maintaining objectivity and seeking opportunities.
Improve your communication
Psychological research tells us that, at times of change, people need increased clarity, honesty and regular communication. Look at any areas where you could get better. Think about how to improve communication from weekly meetings. Or how you deliver tough messages. Keep messages simple and try to avoid too many at any one time.
Finally, stay focused
Bear in mind that every action is preceded by a thought, and it is this thought that you can control – nothing else.
- Avoid knee-jerk thinking.
- Steer clear of over-generalising.
- And avoid judgemental stereotyping – of yourself andyour colleagues.
At a time when ambiguity and uncertainty abound, remain fixed on what you can do to achieve your goals – and help your people do the same.