Leading Through Turbulent Times
The last two years have been a challenge for all of us. The ramifications of Covid have impacted nearly every aspect of the business world, not the least of which is the phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation”. Employees have used this fractured time to reassess their positions and many have come to the conclusion that it’s time to make some major changes in their lives. For many company owners and team leaders, this has meant an exodus of employees and a negative impact on business. If you’ve been losing employees or struggling to retain current staff, whether due to the current climate or not, now may be a great time to reevaluate your business practices and workplace culture and set a new course for success.
As the owner or manager of a business, the way you show up everyday sets the tone and the culture for everybody else. If you’re coming to work feeling fearful or overwhelmed or filled with anxiety, even without saying a word, these are the emotions you are conveying to your workforce. Like a virus infecting its host, your emotional state will permeate through the work environment. Humans, by nature, are empathic creatures. We all have mirror neurons in our brains that allow us to simulate not only the actions we observe in others, but also the intentions and emotions behind those actions. So if you walk into a room a nervous wreck because that deadline is looming, everyone in your radius is going to pick up that emotional frequency, even if you manage to cobble together some positive things to say. Most likely though, your words and actions are going to be informed by your emotional state and will contribute to a stressful environment. On top of that, your staff, your co-workers, and your partners will absorb the signal you’re putting out and pass it on down the line.
The good news is, you have the ability to recognize when you are in a negative emotional state and reconfigure those emotions so that they align with the outcome you would like to create. We all have our own unique Inner Matrix, which is composed of the emotions and thoughts that drive every choice, decision, and action that we take. Business can be fraught with anxiety and frustration. If you don't know how to manage those emotions, it’s easy to start thinking about your business or co-workers from that place of anxiety, anger, or agitation. Thoughts like, "I can't rely on anybody" and "This is hopeless" are going to inform the way that you speak and the actions that you take. But with some training, it’s possible to recognize those negative emotions as they arise and, instead, engage feelings of inspiration, hopefulness, and empowerment. And suddenly, what goes on in the mind radically changes. Now you have thoughts like, "I can trust these individuals," and "I've made it this far. I'm starting to figure this next challenge out. It's only a matter of time before I get the results." When you walk into the room in a state of confidence, that emotional information gets conveyed to your staff and your coworkers, your business partners. They now have a sense of reassurance. Those mirror neurons are picking up the emotional signal you’re transmitting and passing along that sense of confidence without you ever having to say a word.
At the end of the day, if you see that there's anxiety, or distress in the team, that is a result of leadership. It can be easy to blame employees, the economy, or “The Great Resignation” for a downturn in business or a struggling work environment. As the owner or manager of a team, the first step to solving any challenge is understanding that the buck stops with you. What are you doing to cause this reality? How do you want people to feel? What is the environment you want to create and how can you go about generating those outcomes? Accept that ownership ultimately means responsibility for every aspect of the business and you can focus on the vision or the outcome you want to create for the team. Once you’re focused on the results you want to create, you can ask your team for support and ideas on how you might be able to create that culture. Approaching and listening to your staff or co-workers in a genuine and thoughtful way reassures them and fosters trust. Even if you don't take all of their thoughts, ideas, and recommendations, just asking for the input and implementing some of them is going to go a long way.
At Inner Matrix Systems we train a three-step process for achieving the outcomes we want to create:
- Focus on vision: Imagine the results you want to attain.
- Align your emotions with what you are trying to create, i.e., empowerment, inspiration, hopefulness, etc.
- Name the actions that you can take to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to go, making sure that vision is always the context; don’t get lost in the challenges that are happening.
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