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5 Ways to Confidently Lead Through Change

Jan 24, 2022

Challenges come in all shapes and sizes and while it’s difficult to predict their magnitude and timing, we can be certain that more will always be on the horizon.  With challenge, however, comes opportunity.  Thankfully, properly managed challenges foster prosperity yet unknown; prompt a pivot and uncover a solution otherwise left to be undiscovered. Circumstances will vary, yet your own mindset and ability to stay confident, makes all the difference in influencing the ultimate outcome.  Here are five tips to lead confidently and successfully through difficult times. 

1.      First thing, every morning, do something that is quick and physically challenging.  Whether it’s ten burpees, a one-minute plank, 30 push-ups or a handstand against the wall, do something. It gets your blood flowing, norepinephrine and dopamine releasing, and your body talking to your mind saying, “Look at you! You did THAT, now you can tackle the other things your day will bring too.”  Overcoming a quick challenge early in your day will boost your confidence and instantly position you to better handle challenges that may come your way. 

2.      Keep moving forward by not getting stuck in the details.  With so much in flux, the goal should not be to articulate the 74 details needed to execute a solution.  The initial problem will have already changed by the time you put in the effort.  Rather, remain flexible and focus on the big picture.  Propose a solution and invite your team to collaborate, inserting frequent checkpoints to ensure forward, not stuck, or backward, motion.  Roll with the inevitable punches, while maintaining the strength and resilience to drive a path forward. 

3.      Do regular checks of your mental strength and that of your team members.  Especially before an important conversation or strategic session, hit your personal pause button to take inventory.  Clear the mental space needed to effectively manage what lies ahead.  Do so by putting down all devices. Stand up.  Take a big, deep breath. And another.  How do you feel?  Good?  Excellent, begin your task and take a third breath just for self-posterity.  Not good and overwhelmed?  Take several more breaths.  Do a Triangle Breathing exercise where you inhale for a count of 3 seconds, hold it for a count of 3 seconds and exhale for 3 seconds.  Repeat until you can feel the butterflies in your stomach dissipate or you can visualize a de-cluttering of your mind.  A calm mind is an assured mind and an assured mind is able to optimize its workplace performance.    

4.      Prioritize your key strengths.  The superpowers you have, above everyone else on your team, are needed now more than ever.  When you are enlisting your superpowers and working within your Zone of Excellence, your confidence is thanking you for it!  Confidence, like any muscle, gets stronger as it is conditioned.  As an added bonus, a confident mind demonstrates far more powerful leadership characteristics than a frazzled one. Reserve, prioritize and protect time on your calendar for performing your key strengths, as if you’re an Olympic athlete, about to compete for the gold medal.  You’ll be a stronger asset to your team and may find that it’s not a gold medal, but a promotion, that’s on the line.   

5.      Don’t go it alone.  Stay connected by not just hopping onto Zoom calls with 37 other people.  In addition, plan for at least one daily, one-on-one phone call.  Even 15 minutes with no particular agenda other than to interact with another human colleague in a relaxed way, will escalate resilience.  This is a great way to mental floss your mind, clean out residue, and serve as a reminder that you are more than just a robot.  It allows you to lead with the best version of you.  Want to make those 15 minutes even more powerful?  Pop in your air pods and go for a good old walk ‘n talk.  Invite the person on the other line to do the same AND make it a video call to prevent you from slyly checking a quick email or responding to a text.  Force yourself to be present.  Demonstrate a trifecta solution of socially distancing, boosting confidence, and creating the mental acuity you need to lead effectively through a crisis.  See?  A daily three-pronged ritual, easily executable and not mired down in details!

A challenge will expose the best and the worst in us.  Commit to these steps to lead with your best, most confident self, and be the leader your team needs in order to THRIVE through a challenge.  

Originally published May 5, 2020

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