It’s been a crazy couple of months so far with lots of distractions, not the least of which was the non-stop barrage of ugliness in the weeks leading up to the presidential election; then the surprising outcome, the post-election protests, and the world’s response — all of this is just overwhelming.
Whether you voted red or blue, it’s hard to wrap our heads around it all.
And that makes it really hard to stay focused and be in the present. Our attention is yanked back and forth between the past (What just happened? What are the lessons to be learned?) and the future (Will there be changes that impact our business? How will we reunite as a nation?) or between the global (Who is America in the eyes of the world?) and the personal (Will I be able to feel normal again?)
As leaders, we have the difficult task of understanding and managing our own emotions as well as the emotions of our teams. These are big questions: Must I be neutral, or can I be authentic in my joy or dismay over the outcome? How much of what I’m feeling can I express in my work environment? How will I know what my team needs from me as a leader? And how will I regain my focus with all of this distraction?
Here are 3 Tips for managing this moment in time:
1. Be real with yourself. Find a quiet corner and make a full and honest inventory of everything you are feeling. Remember, feelings are not right or wrong. They are part of being human and need to be acknowledged. Denial won’t help you. Instead, decide when, where or how it’s appropriate for you to deal with your feelings, including who are your “safe to share” people, and begin to work through your emotions as productively as possible.
2. Be there for others. Whether you agree or disagree with someone’s political position, leaders need to listen. Listen fully and openly and be clear on your goal, which is to make the other person feel heard. Stay in the moment. Avoid the temptation to go into your head to find a solution or rebuttal.
3. Be prepared. It’s going to take extra effort to function with diffused focus, especially with the additional distractions of holidays and year-end demands. Spend a few moments at the end of each day wrapping your head around what is needed for tomorrow so that you can be fully present all day.
Let me know how you’re doing. I promise you’ll have my full attention!