Are you struggling to manage and lead your team? Do you want to know how to unleash your inner Yoda? Here’s an 8-Step plan to manage and lead your team through uncertainty.
As rewarding as leadership is, it is equally frustrating. I know this because my coaching clients have echoed the same sentiment for a year now.
Comments like “surely my team should know what to do by now, I shouldn’t have to keep reminding them,” has become a manager theme song.
Although not very PC to admit, you are not alone in feeling like this.
The reality is people are in a sort of PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) from the stress of 2020. People feel despondent that the situation hasn’t shifted as expected, resulting in low intrinsic motivation levels.
As a leader, your role is to find the delicate balance between making up for lost time and being sensitive to your team’s needs. The way forward is to consider reframing your role of manager to a guide so that you can lead your team through uncertainty.
Think about the characters like Yoda and Luke Skywalker, Mr Miyagi & The Karate Kid, Professor Dumbledore and Harry Potter, Haymitch Abernathy and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.
Through these stories, the common thread is how vital a mentor’s role is to an individual’s journey.
Here are eight ways you can guide and lead your team through uncertainty:
1. DEDICATE TIME IN YOUR MEETINGS TO CONNECT ON A HUMAN LEVEL FIRST.
The only way you can effectively guide and lead your team is by first getting a realistic picture of their headspace.
Begin the meeting by checking in with them on a personal level. It can be as simple as kicking off with a one-word check-in — either a colour or a word to gauge their headspace.
Have a catch up of the weekend and ask if they have anything to share — this can be positive or negative. Perhaps they had some tough news about someone close to them.
This will also give you a greater insight into why their performance has not been consistent or perhaps you have noticed increased levels of interpersonal conflict which is out of character.
Perhaps this isn’t possible for every meeting, but indeed your Monday and Friday team meetings.
The team check-in doesn’t need to take up the entire agenda, but it will set the tone for a more engaging meeting.
Once you have connected on a human level, then begin with the work agenda.
2. OVERWHELM IS OFTEN ABOUT NOW KNOWING WHERE TO START.
Despite feeling like it shouldn’t be your job to help people figure out their priorities, this is where your team is at now. Guide them in navigating the blur between the seemingly urgent and important tasks.
Begin by sharing your most important priorities for the week and then ask them what their focus is.
As a leader, you can now guide their thinking about why they have chosen that specific priority and redirect if necessary.
Once you have outlined each member’s top priorities, get them to define the next step. You may know you have to contact a client about a meeting but perhaps not knowing who the correct contact person is will become a barrier to action. Knowing where to start will help you better lead your team through uncertainty.
3. LEAD YOUR TEAM FROM WHERE THEY ARE AT NOT FROM WHERE YOU ARE.
Founder and CEO, Vips Kapadia, developed The 3 Phases diagram to explain people’s various emotions and mindsets during uncertain times and when norms suddenly change.
This explains why, although we are in year two of the pandemic, people are still experiencing it at different levels of intensity from overwhelm to acceptance.
The way to best apply this model is to map your team accordingly and then with empathy, lead your team from where they are at; not where you are.
Share this model and invite people to share their own unique experiences. It will equally help them to understand their headspace and ask for the necessary guidance.
What do they need from you to effectively navigate this time, and how can you lead them to acceptance?