Based on recent conversations, it sounds like the announcement that lockdown will soon be lifted has had an interesting (if seemingly paradoxical) side-effect.
It’s flared up our anxiety.
I guess subconsciously we’re aware that the end of lockdown brings with it another big shakeup – where the way that we work, communicate and socialise will all change…
As a leader, you might expect your people to come out of this strange, year-long chapter with nothing but enthusiasm and positivity.
But change affects people in different ways.
For some, it represents new opportunities. For others, it represents uncertainty.
As I see it, there are two ways you can handle this:
- Equip yourselves and your people with the right tools to handle this new period of change.
- Spend two weeks checking in on unproductive or absent employees who are burnt out from the shock of it all.
If you like the sound of the first path, below are three frameworks that will help you to work with your people so they can thrive through this next phase: helping them to examine their perception of what this change really means, bolstering their self-belief, and giving them the tools to navigate and control any uncertainty they are feeling.
Navigating change with resilience
Tamar Chansky, author of ‘Freeing Yourself From Anxiety’ says changes at work are amongst the top life stressors that we experience, that’s because typically:
“How we thrive is through routine and predictability. It gives us a sense of control. When there are big changes, we are suddenly thrown into a state of uncertainty.’
But how effectively we feel we can cope with this change and uncertainty depends very much on how we see the world. In fact, psychologist Martin Seligman has identified three character traits known as the Three Ps, which potentially reduce our resilience to change and tough times:
- Personalisation: thinking that the problem is yours, instead of considering external factors
- Permanence: thinking a bad situation will last forever
- Pervasiveness: thinking a bad situation applies across all areas of your life
However, by changing how we see tough times (ie, that the problem isn’t always yours alone, that difficult stuff doesn’t last forever, and that not everything in your life is terrible) you can tap into a deep well of resilience as the uncertain situation passes through you.
Here are 5 ways that you can change your perception of uncertain times, by strengthening your resilience:
- Recognise that your struggle is valid – don’t blow it up, but don’t minimise it either. Recognise that shit is happening and you need to deal with it.
- Remember times you were resilient! Don’t forget you’ve already lived through adversity. A key component of resilience is self-efficacy, so reminding yourself that you’ve done this before will help enormously.
- Consider the three P’s. How can you turn around this negative way of thinking to encourage positives?
- Be kind to yourself and remember this is a learning experience. When you come out of the other side, you will be stronger and even better equipped for the future than before!
- If it’s getting really tough, call on your buddies, colleagues, mentors, family etc. Resilient people instinctively call on support if they feel they need it. They’re smart enough to know they can’t do everything alone!
Developing self-belief and cancelling unwanted noise.
Those with self-belief and a realistic amount of self-confidence tend to go far. And this is especially true during more challenging times when a good dose of self-belief helps to keep us both buoyant and focused.
The word ‘realistic’ is important – helping your employees to have a balanced view of themselves is key to cultivating their self-belief. Knowing their strengths and weaknesses, helping them to play to the former while working on the latter.
Because as an employer, it can be very frustrating seeing your people obsess about, and nurture their limiting self-beliefs, perpetuating a story about themselves that isn’t true. It’s distracting, inhibits their growth, whilst hiding their true potential from you, and the world!
So here are 5 tips you can use to develop their self-belief and propel them forward.
- What do you want? Ask yourself this – if you weren’t lacking in self-belief, who would you like to be and what would you like to do? Write down these goals and if doubts come up about them, push aside the negative noise.
- Face your fears – scared of something? Then face it down and don’t let it hold you back. You’ll most likely find that it was a phantom fear, and was never worth your time and energy in the first place.
- Talking to your inner critic. Talk directly to that internal monologue. Why they feel that way about challenging situations, and why they’re controlling you. They’ll never be able to come up with a rational explanation.
- Set yourself up for success. Tell yourself that you will prevail but if you don’t quite get there immediately, don’t beat yourself up. If at first you don’t succeed…
- Encourages others to see their value. By doing so you will generate equally positive feelings about yourself. Give it a try and see how effective it can be.
Controlling the controllables and letting the rest go
As humans, we often try to control everything around us; both situations and people. Frankly, this is a recipe for disaster, depression and a sense of failure because we simply cannot control everything. But we do have a certain superpower, as explained by Paul Mort, supercoach:
‘I can’t change the past but I can change how I see it. The past is a moment and our imaginations fill in the gaps and make up all of the meaning around what happened. But really, it is up to you how long you want to visit dogshit emotions. The thinking that keeps us glued to bullshit is our victim mentality, so put attention on your intentions It’s up to you what you do about it.’
Here are 4 ways that you can reset the control balance:
- Write down what you can definitely control vs what you think you can control vs what you definitely can’t control. DISCARD what you can’t control – these are no longer important. Of those things you think you can control, decide which are worth pursuing and which aren’t.
- Look at controlling your responses to people and situations. Do you snap back under pressure? If so, learn to take a breath before you give a measured response to a situation. Even a short amount of thinking time will help you focus on the positives.
- As author Viktor Frankl said in his famous book about surviving Auschwitz, you are always free to choose your attitude towards something. Instead of fearing loss of control, focus on changing your mindset around it.
- Learn to calm your mind through meditation or mindfulness. This will help you focus on more positive outcomes and situation you cannot control
This is just a snapshot of what’s inside PUSH’s new book ‘High Potential Hacks – The Positive Behaviours of The Highest Performing People.’ We’d love for you and your people to benefit from more of its magic, so download your free copy below… it might just change their life!