Being a leader does not make you immune to fear. These are uncertain times and it is nothing but honest to be afraid. Even the most seasoned leaders feel afraid.
I often hear about these fears first hand. There is fear in not knowing what will happen to your organization, the economy, your employees or even your own family. Leaders worry about making the wrong decisions with so much at stake.
A pandemic is something we’ve never experienced before and will hopefully never experience again. There are a lot of unknowns about how a pandemic will impact the world, the country, the organization and the livelihood of individuals. How will the economy respond and recover? These are big questions and even the most insightful leaders will not have the answers to these big questions.
To be fearful is to be human. And right now, it is more important than ever as leaders to be human. Employees want to know that they aren’t alone in their worry, that others are affected too. As a leader, how do you acknowledge and honor this humanness? How do you share your humanness with your team?
During a time when your employees are looking to you to lead, calmness and certainty are not always possible. This is a time to let your workforce see your humanness. Because that is what makes you authentic and relatable, and they need to know that you feel the impact of this too. That means sometimes telling them you don’t have or know the answer yet. This is your opportunity to be transparent and show vulnerability at a time when others, especially those who look to you for leadership, need to see it most. By showing your humanness, you are showing your team that you are all in this together.
The time will come when you bring your highly refined skills as a leader forward… skills of decisiveness, vision and crisis management. True leaders rise in these moments, and you will rise in this occasion too. You will step through your fears.
But I also want to give you permission to be human and have moments of uncertainty. And in those moments, use the resources you have around you to bolster you. Turn to your network, whether that be your personal board of advisors, colleagues, mentors or coaches. This is not a time to stand alone, but to find comfort in the fact that your fears are well founded and you will step through them and rise as the leader you are.