If you’ve read my recent blog post or social media updates, you may know that I’ve been going through some challenging circumstances in my personal life. It’s been difficult to lead through the stress and uncertainty, but it’s necessary to push through for the success of the business. Over the past few months, I’ve learned a few tactics to help lead through tumultuous times. They might also help you if and when you face obstacles in your life.
How to Lead Through Turbulent Times
1. Be transparent.
When challenges arise, it’s not the time to be overly stoic. I found that sharing my personal challenges with my team and some of my clients has helped them understand why I might seem a little “off” or why workload delays might occur. I am not one to make excuses, so my purpose in transparency is to let people know that my standard overzealous personality might have a little less “zest,” as I work through some things. I have ensured my team and clients that I will remain professional and communicative should any immediate changes occur that could impact our service. Most people are very understanding, especially when you’ve built a reputation on doing what you say you will do.
While compartmentalization typically has a negative connotation, I think it’s valuable when you’re trying to run a business. The word “compartmentalize” by definition means “divide into sections or categories.” As I face struggles, I try to allocate time to manage my workload and deal with my personal obstacles. For example, if I am working on a project or I’m in a meeting, I turn off my phone, email, and social media so that I can be fully present and focused on the task at hand (although there are some exceptions, such as when waiting for a doctor to call). In the evenings, I allow myself the time to work through the personal challenges.
3. Practice self-care.
It’s often said that you can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. While it may seem like a bad time to focus on yourself, it’s important to give yourself a break. When things started to get tough, I felt guilty going to my massage and pedicure appointments. But, they are necessary for my sanity. Now, I tell myself that it’s essential to go to these appointments so that I can take care of myself — and, in turn, others. I also take time out to get exercise, hop in the sauna, and just rest my mind and body. Even 15 minutes helps alleviate the mental strain of juggling personal issues while trying to maintain day-to-day responsibilities.
“It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” ~ Epictetus
We all experience change and uncertainty throughout our lives. How we handle those situations reveals a lot about our character. As a leader, I believe we feel that we must manage these challenges and make it look effortless (even when it’s not!). However, I think there’s something to be said for showing our humanity. If done well, it can help to create trust, which is the foundation of business.
Help me add to this list! What ways do you lead through challenges?