Uncertainty can be a huge stressor for many people, and perhaps that is what you are experiencing now. When what you know to be true isn’t any longer, and you can’t latch onto a new truth, the ground beneath your proverbial feet begins to feel unsteady.
This is where I feel women in leadership can excel.
Our brains rely on certainty when making decisions because of the routines we form to make them. Each of us has a strategy for making decisions about what to do. It’s a step-by-step process that we use to make the best decisions for us and what is important to us. This process also involves information from our past experiences. We leverage those past experiences to make future decisions. So when we can’t rely on the past to predict the future, things get sketchy.
So why can women leaders excel here? Because of how we relate to others.
When women lead, they tend to do so with others and by building relationships. Women collaborate and bring others into the process. It’s how we’re hardwired.
So how can you leverage this when things are uncertain?
Find ways to include others, whether at home or at work, and allow the people around you to share their thoughts, wisdom, and worries. Because when things get tough, people take it personally. Meaning, they want to know how this relates to them and what’s most important to them.
Let them share their thoughts. What have they heard or read? What do they believe? What ideas do they have? What are they curious about? Even if you don’t have the answers, seeking their input allows them to feel heard and understood.
Let them share their wisdom. What have they tried that worked for them to reduce the anxiety that comes with uncertainty? What experiences have they had that are applicable to what is going on now? How does what they know, contribute to the group?
Let them share their worries. If it’s on their mind, allowing them to share it reduces the burden. Especially, if you can be vulnerable too so they know it isn’t just their worry. You have an opportunity to better understand the emotions that may be side-tracking them. Remember though, just because they have shared their worries, doesn’t mean it’s your job to pick them up. You can show empathy without being responsible for it.
So whether it’s uncertainty as a part of normal business or because of a global pandemic, you don’t have to handle it alone or figure it out all by yourself. Bring the collective brilliance of your group together to naturally support each other.
Until next time, here’s wishing you the Clarity you deserve and the perspective of others to guide you!