Leaders often feel alone. Responsibility for connecting, communicating and much more rests with added weight on their shoulders. They often don’t have colleagues with whom they can share their challenges and struggles.
I have found that one of the most important aspects of strong leadership is being OK with uncertainty. Lack of clarity is common in business in general. Add a pandemic and its unruly aftermath, and not only is it assumed, it’s extreme; instead of the usual fog, we might look out into darkness. The uncertainty can precipitate anxiety. People like to anticipate what’s next. With leaders, understanding next week and next year is a big part of the job.
Reject navigating across so much uncertainty without a safety net. Instead, turn to colleagues, friends and family for support. Tell them about challenges. Seek their input. Support decision-making with feedback and different points of view. When times are especially uncertain, it helps.
In addition, do not forget self-care. Schedule it, if necessary. It could mean playing the guitar, taking an hour-long hike in nature, writing in a journal. It is critical. Work can grind us down — we devote a good deal of our mental attention to the stuff of meetings, reports, presentations and the rest of it. Pivoting away from these things, if only for a brief time every day, is critical.
The self-care component of leadership reverberates far beyond the individual carving out time to go on a trail run. People who take care of themselves are better able to show up, and serve others.