Dealing with uncertainty creates anxiety for most people. It’s especially difficult when facing a pandemic.
Most likely, you are facing tough decisions that impact your company’s bottom line, employee paychecks, and the health of your employees and customers.
What your employees need most is for you to lead with a non-anxious presence. A presence of staying calm, not overly reactive, and able to stay reasonable and rationale when all eyes are on you for answers.
What Does a Non-anxious Presence Look Like?
A non-anxious presence is a presence that conveys a sense of calm. It decreases the anxiety in others by dealing with reality while also conveying hope and meaning.
There’s a sense of “We’re going to get through this – together. You’re not alone even when we’re social distancing”.
That is how one of my clients is leading his teams and overall company through this crisis. Actually, it’s the way he already leads. He’s made the conscious choice to heighten his awareness of being a non-anxious presence during this time of uncertainty and to be a beacon of hope.
When asked how he is doing this amidst all the pressures and unknowns, he said
“I know how the way I handle this crisis will impact my employee’s ability to function and take care of their own family needs.If I stay calm and provide clear, non-anxious direction, my employees are more likely to do the same. ”
Four Conscious Choices to be a “Non-anxious ” Presence
Being calm under pressure doesn’t happen by chance.
It requires intentionality to choose behaviors that especially in the most challenging of times fosters a positive, calm work culture.
Implement the following behaviors and you will be non-anxious presence for your employees.
1. Establish and practice your own calming rituals – Just because you’re a leader doesn’t mean you’re not human and experiencing the same fears and anxieties the rest of the world is going through.
Whether it is prayer, meditation, mindfulness, or talking with loved ones, tend to your own emotional needs so you stay calm for your employees.
2. Convey your Humanity – Before jumping in and providing direction, a simple “how are you?” will go a long way for your employees to feel cared for by you. Let sincerity, integrity, and honesty drive your behavior.
Make sure your body language, words, and feelings are consistent so your employees know you are taking a genuine interest in them.
3. Speak Directly – Be clear and direct in what you are asking or taking a stand for. Be willing to ask questions or raise issues that may cause conflict when it’s necessary for everyone’s well-being.
Set boundaries around gossip and encourage questions when people aren’t clear or have buy-in to plans.
4. Reinforce Blameless Problem-solving – With daily, sometimes hourly changes, the ability to improvise with few resources is essential. At the same time, mistakes are likely due to high stress and unchartered territory.
When this happens (and it will) focus on solutions instead of who’s to blame. Emphasize working together and getting smarter from every mistake.
Be a Leader Who Won’t Be Forgotten
As our country faces the COVID-19, you have an opportunity like never before to provide direction and leadership that your employees will remember for years to come, maybe the rest of their lives.
Make the conscious choice to embrace a non-anxious presence and your employees will look back at this time and remember you as a leader that provided stability and hope when life looked bleak.