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In times of disruption and uncertainty, many individuals find themselves drained and overwhelmed by the challenges they face. Here are eight ways to reorient your mindset to achieve your leadership objectives.

Dealing with workplace turbulence is a common aspect of professional life. Although it may evoke feelings of unease and apprehension, learning to embrace change is a healthier approach. After all, there is no real certainty of anything in life.

In times of turmoil and uncertainty, many individuals find themselves drained and overwhelmed by the challenges they face. Their future focus tends to be around worst-case scenarios and prevention.

However, it is essential to dig deep and find the positive aspects of what is under transformation. By reframing our outlook on adversity and viewing it as a chance for growth, we equip ourselves to tackle change with resilience and effectiveness.

Let’s take a look at seven ways you can teach yourself to go from seeing challenges as energy drainers to energy gainers.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

A lot of us have been told that we are victims of our emotions, that we cannot control how we feel.

The good news is that research shows we are actually in control. We don’t have to be at the whim of feeling fearful, angry or anxious. Recognizing that we have the power to shape our mindset and perspective is truly empowering.

Emotions aren’t positive or negative. They can provide you with helpful guidance rather than indicating something is wrong.

Emotions aren’t positive or negative. They can provide you with helpful guidance rather than indicating something is wrong.

The Emotion Science Lab at Texas A&M University found emotions like anger and anxiety can be beneficial. Anger helps you take the actions that prepare you to overcome an obstacle, while anxiety helps you prepare for danger.

Allow yourself to feel into the emotions that bubble up during change. See them as guideposts to gently nudge you into the action you need to take – when you are ready.

Avoid the tendency to blame, wallow in self-pity or pretend you feel OK. Instead, stay open to the feelings and know that they are guiding you to the right actions. Realize that nothing is actually wrong and that you have the choice to interpret a change in a new and different way.

Visualize a Bright Future

When we typically feel fearful, it’s because we are focusing on the short-term, rather than embracing a long-term outlook. One technique I use in my workshops is to get leaders to visualize how they want their teams to interact and work in the future.

It’s about feeling what that will look like. The aim is for it to feel good and exciting, and to help leaders see what needs to be done now to get to the exciting new horizon that awaits them.

Your team all want to know that the hard work and effort will be worth it. The more you can help them understand how their contribution will make things easier for the team or customers, the more likely they will feel at ease with the change.

It’s about feeling inspired because that will pave the actions that you need to take to get there.

Leaders often go into change in defensive mode – preparing for something negative that hasn’t happened yet. This puts them on the back foot. Instead, regularly visualize the positive future that awaits and invoke the relief and ease that your visualization brings.

Life is supposed to be fun. Feel into how you can bring more happiness to your team, rather than worry about something that might not even happen.

Adopt Useful Beliefs

In the book Useful Belief by Chris Helder, he talks about the need to consider what is useful to us during a particular situation, rather than wallowing in self-pity and fear. We must ask ourselves questions that help us focus on what will help us deal with a situation that we can’t change.

Thinking ‘be positive’ is not always the most effective approach. We can’t flip a switch and suddenly feel positive. What we need is a gentler approach that helps us feel relief and find the hidden positives in what worries us. We need to gently ask ourselves questions to regain hope.

Instead of ruminating on the negatives, ask yourself:

  • What strategy can I employ that would make this situation the best it can possibly be?
  • What is the most useful belief I could have about this situation I’m walking into?

You have a choice in how you view the cards life gave you. It doesn’t matter if your responses are 100 percent accurate. What matters is that you view the present in a manner that helps you capitalize on opportunities right now.

Focus on Solutions, Rather than Dwelling on Problems

One of the things I say about Achievement Zone leaders is that they are focused on finding solutions, rather than fixing problems. They believe there is a solution for everything and they empower their people to use their knowledge, talents and potential.

It’s about being calm and confident, and not being unduly influenced by circumstances out of your control. It’s about believing that no matter what challenges are thrown your way you have the power to learn, grow and create solutions with your team. No matter what happens, together you will work it out.

Most workplace problems are tough and tricky to solve. Being focused on solutions rather than problems means being able to reorient yourself and your team to find the solutions and opportunities during the turmoil. It brings more ease, calm and flow to your team.

This can include asking curious questions that open up choices and possibilities:

  • How can we look at this differently?
  • Just for fun, what if we think of it this way?
  • What’s the opportunity here?
  • How else could you look at this?

The more you get your team to stay in the energy of the solution, the more quickly they will find it. Most times, it will be when they are not even thinking about it.

Change Your Language

Our words are more powerful than we think. They give us insight into how we feel. Make sure your words are empowering to both yourself and your people.

Leaders who are reactive and out of control with their emotions use language that can unintentionally create more fear and anxiety in their team, as well as create more distrust in leadership.

Negative language and reactions can hinder people’s ability to discover solutions, potentially leading them into a downward spiral of fear and worry.

Make sure your words are empowering to both yourself and your people.

Your employees evaluate whether you are making good decisions for the organization on their behalf. They want to know whether they can trust their rationale and that the company will survive.

Make sure you share your thinking on how decisions were made. This can also lead to a deeper sense of trust of the company if it shows there are plans to proactively take the company where it needs to go and that no-one is being misled about what these changes require.

Let people know what’s working now and what’s needed for the future. Paint a picture of the future, so they can see themselves in it. Talk about what future capabilities are required, so people can understand how they fit into the bigger picture.

Receive Valuable Support

Having a solid professional support system can be invaluable when navigating through periods of change.

You won’t be able to regularly share your fears with your leadership team. Join CEO groups or work with a mentor or coach to provide external, impartial advice.

Look After Yourself

To help energize your team and help them feel able to cope with change requires looking after yourself. This is foundational to having the energy to deal with change.

Your physical health matters. Getting enough sleep, exercise, water and nutrition matters. So does having the right number of breaks that energize you.

After all, you can’t give your team oxygen if you haven’t given it to yourself first. Make sure you take the time to re-energize your batteries. Take time out to feel inspired and rejuvenated by the amazing world we live in.

Flexing Your Change Mindset

Turn the shock and upheaval into an advantage by adapting your mindset to one where you see challenges as opportunities for growth and learning.

By using these strategies to reframe your response to changing circumstances, you can cultivate resilience and navigate workplace uncertainties with confidence.

Marie-Claire Ross

Contributor Collective Member

Marie-Claire Ross is a speaker, facilitator and leadership coach who works with companies across the world to build trusting and thriving team cultures. She has worked with organizations such as the Commonwealth Bank, Queensland Health, Ambulance Victoria, Atkins-Realis (Canada) and Novartis (Sweden). She is also the author of 'Trusted to Thrive: How leaders create connected and accountable teams'. For more information visit https://www.marie-claireross.com/

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