Self-Care in Leadership – Coming Back Stronger
One of the many things we have had to reflect on these past few months is leadership. On all levels, leadership has been put to the test. We have seen leaders step up and achieve the impossible while others have frustratingly failed at a basic level. We have also seen fantastic examples of personal leadership by people who would not ordinarily be seen as inspiring leaders. In this blog post, we will touch upon leadership skills that have made a difference during the crises, the importance of self-care, and how digital coaching can support you in becoming more comfortable leading through change and uncertainty.
A crisis demands a certain kind of leadership style, or rather an ability to switch between different styles depending on the situation. Some leaders are either not comfortable with this or perhaps they lack the awareness to do it, while others adapt and lead successfully. In a time of crisis, where one may feel fear or panic, it can be frightening to change from a style of leadership that has successfully taken you to where you are today. However, this is when you need to be the most flexible in your leadership rather than going on autopilot.
The one style of leadership that stands out as important for success in times of uncertainty is showing humanity. Of course courage, resolve, resilience and transparency are also important for a good leader during times of change but both in studies and by testimonies from our digital coaching program, the ability to listen, show empathy and be available has been highlighted as the most important in building motivation and loyalty.
Courage and resolve are important as many decisions need to be made. How do we steer through the storm? Every decision may include great risk but it still needs to be made. Converting fear into courage becomes easier when you are aware of your emotions and behaviours, and you evaluate the situation according to a framework or criteria that allows you to make the best decision possible.
Studies, and personal experience, show that transparency is important in times of great uncertainty. Once a leader has made the decision, showing resolve is important, but transparency leads to greater loyalty. In most cases when presented with the facts, employees will take a paycut instead of risking a group being made redundant . Without the transparency leading to commitment to the cause it is unlikely anyone would accept a suggestion of a pay cut. Transparency of course makes a leader vulnerable and open to criticism or questioning, so again reflection is important to prepare and make sure you do make the best decision, and resilience helps you endure.
However, an empathic leader who listens to the challenges of those affected and shows humanity builds team spirit and creates bonds. This leader also has the ability to inspire courage, resolve, resilience, transparency, and empathy in those around him or her, allowing efficient team work, learning, and growth for everyone despite the challenges faced. Positive change comes from seeing opportunities instead of solving problems.
The challenge with being the leader who listens to and cares for their team, family or friends is that it demands the right physical and mental state to take this on. Showing up involves body language and tone of voice, which are affected by stress, making self-care for a strong body and mind critical for success. Only by actively paying attention to your needs will you be able to lead successfully in times of uncertainty and change.
Creating space for regular reflection to recognize the triggers for your wellbeing and self-care is essential. The Self-Care in Leadership resource, combined with our digital coaching offer, has proven to be successful in creating the space needed to lead successfully through uncertain times. Successful leadership starts with self awareness. Digital coaching can help you become aware of your triggers, strengths and weaknesses. Learn, grow, pay attention to your self-care, show up and be the leader you want and need to be.
Only you know how you reduce stress best and prepare for each demanding situation. Creating healthy habits that include exercise, healthy food, and sleep are basics giving you the strength to create the space for reflection regarding the “how and what” you need to be a successful leader. Digital Coaching and the Self-Care in Leadership resource help you with your reflection so you can show up to lead the best you can in each situation.
Leadership is also about being a role model, by setting an example of a certain behaviour it will become the norm for your team, family or friends, increasing the impact. You own the power to be the leader you want to be, but you also have the power to create positive change for your team and/or those around you. Some may be born to be great leaders but most of us need hard work, self reflection, and moving out of our comfort zone, to come back stronger.