Try this instead…
Leaders keep trying to be positive, but that’s not always the best option.
A leader’s job is to stay positive all of the time. WRONG!
A leader’s job is to lead a team
Sometimes that means you’re positive. But more often than not, it means you’re honest.
A leader’s job is not to stifle emotions
I coach leaders all the time who want to turn people’s moods, perspectives or feelings around.
They want to take a difficult transition or a change that’s happening and make everyone see the positive out of it.
You can’t ignore your team’s emotions!
Let me give you an example;
My friend recently lost his wife. He took care of her for months while she battled cancer. In the end, she couldn’t talk, and he spoke for her to visitors. They had been together for over 30 years and were soulmates.
That’s a difficult situation. I cannot say to him…
I know it’s hard, but look at the positive:
- Things will be cheaper now!
- You won’t have her nagging you anymore.
- You could find someone prettier for a second marriage.
Indeed, you can see how heartless that is!
Similarly, we try to do this with our teams.
We take a difficult situation and try to hop them over the grief, loss and pain and suffering that they are experiencing.
- We try to minimize it.
- We try to overlook it.
- We try and move people through change as quickly as we possibly can.
2020 has been hard!!
Grief and loss are what we have experienced this year. Those feelings are not something you can move through quickly, get around or avoid.
What you can do is experience them. You can move your way through the emotions surrounding grief and loss.
Learning to let your team feel the hardness of this year
How do you sit with the icky feelings so that you can move through them?
1) ALLOW emotions to show up
2) ACKNOWLEDGE the emotions
- Name them to tame them….as we learned in the Emotional Control course
3) ENABLE the emotions to move through you and others.
Note: The opposite is to stuff emotions down, hide them or shove them away.
My guess is you probably already know this may work in the short term, but longterm, it has some serious consequences.
You’re becoming an emotionally intelligent leader.
The ability to recognize and manage your own emotions and those of others is a sign of an emotionally and socially intelligent leader.
Leaders do set a vision,
but they also help their team get there!
Yes, your job as a leader is to help teams see the other side.
A leader is taking a team a direction via a powerful vision. You’ll need to be motivating and inspiring to get there. And sometimes getting them to that vision will be hard on them.
What you can do;
When it’s difficult, we need to sit down beside our team and talk about how hard and difficult it is.
- Let them express their frustration, anger and anguish.
When that wave of emotions has passed over, we ask them if they’re ready to get up and move along.
Are they ready to move on?
Sometimes they are ready, and we can then be positive again.
Sometimes they need more time.
If they get stuck, we may need to nudge them along a little bit with hard truths, inspiration, and motivation.
Someone once wisely said:
There is a time and a place for everything!
Practically how do you do this?
- You slow things down.
- You’ll allow space for frustration and disappointment in conversations about the pain and agony.
- You acknowledge the emotions rather than trying to push them away.
EXERCISE: Try this with your team
On this week’s podcast, I talk about looking back over 2020. If you’re looking for an exercise to do with your team to help acknowledge all of the rainbow of emotions that have happened, get them to listen to the podcast.
First, ask them to reflect on the questions I offer in the episode such as:
- Where have I grown?
- What or who has help that growth?
- What implications does that change in me have for next year?
There are lots more questions I threw into the mix in the episode.
Next, sit down and discuss the answers together. Remember to allow and acknowledging what you have all been through how you’ve grown as a team.
Then, when the emotions have been acknowledged…smile and gently bring on the positivity…if the time is right!
To dive a bit deeper into a review of 2020, check out the course My Training and Growth Annual Analysis, which is one of many inside The Training Library, which is a membership site for women leaders who want to grow personally and professionally and always have someone in their corner!
Leadership Development Coach Kathy Archer helps women leaders ditch survival mode and enjoy impactful leadership. Develop your confidence * Maintain your composure * Lead with integrity!
- Author of Mastering Confidence
- The host of the podcast From Surviving to Thriving
- Blogging for women leading in nonprofits
Kathy Archer 🌸CPCC, PCC
Leadership Development Coach