A core part of our Leadership U curriculum is understanding how to effectively manage yourself and your team during times of uncertainty. As a leader, you need courage, optimism, and hope. Below, we share inspirational tales of extraordinary leaders who have successfully managed a team through mass disruption.
Leading a team through change is stressful – both physically and mentally. Korn Ferry leadership experts share 4 tips on how to manage yourself, so you can manage your team better.
1. Check and manage your stress levels.
Physically and emotionally exhausted? Trouble sleeping? Feeling overwhelmed? Getting short-tempered? These could be warning signs that your stress levels are too high and that you’re heading towards burnout. Unchecked, it can affect your productivity and, worse still, your health. Find out what situations cause you to become stressed. Keep a stress diary. Make an entry after any stressful event. Note down when it happened. How you felt about it. How high your stress level became on a scale of 0–10. How you responded. How your response helped or hindered the situation. Any physical or emotional reaction (sweaty palms, tears, etc.). Review your diary entries regularly and establish what situations cause you the most stress. How do they affect your productivity? Your health? What can you do to change these situations for the better? What strategies will help you deal with them? Some stress at work will be unavoidable and resilience means recognizing and responding to your signals early.
Finding better ways to manage stress and pressure. Talk to your boss or mentor about getting some relief if you’re about to crumble. If you feel you’re already burned out, maybe think about taking some time off.
2. Be resilient and persevere while dealing with crisis management.
When a crisis strikes, you need to keep a firm, confident hand on the wheel. During a crisis, time is the enemy. Pressure is high and quick action is needed. So be prepared for them. Learn to anticipate them. Collect all the data you can. Think through all of the worst-case consequences and assign a person or a team to prepare for them. When a crisis strikes, use the data you have and ask others for suggestions and thoughts. Decide and execute decisions with an instant feedback loop. Make adjustments to your course as you go. Stay focused and in control. And communicate, communicate, communicate.
3. Take care of your body and physical being.
Physical and mental energy feed off of each other. Work on your physical fitness. You might not be able to go to the gym, but you can walk, exercise, and eat well. Look after your mental well-being. Regularly engage in activities that you find mentally restorative. Develop a habit for a physical activity you enjoy and that makes you feel good. Practice yoga, mindfulness, or mediation techniques. Scientific studies show doing things that “center” you can give your mind greater clarity. Renewed thinking. If you’re physically and mentally fit and healthy, you’ll have more energy. It’ll feel easier to attack and finish projects. Easier to stay focused and positive. To persevere when you feel like giving up. You’ll perform better, feel stronger.
4. During a crisis, urgent tasks get priority.
Self-aware people build in time for what Kevin Cashman calls The Pause Principle. “The conscious, intentional process of stepping back, within ourselves and outside of ourselves, to lead forward with greater authenticity, purpose, and contribution.” It looks different for different people. Meditation works for some. Others recognize they need daily physical activity. This becomes valuable reflection time for them. Daily walks. Journaling. The key is to take the time to reflect, however it makes sense to you. Consider. Appreciate. Debrief before moving forward or taking action. When you’ve completed a task or a project, hit the pause button. Rewind. Press play and review. What went well? What didn’t? What will you do differently next time? Ask others for their feedback. Reflect as a team. Allow the comments—yours and theirs—to settle before moving on. Self-aware people learn from experience and build it into their next activity.
Get inspired with a series of heartfelt opinions from Korn Ferry CEO, and author of Leadership U, Gary Burnison