3 Ways to Show Up When You’re Stressed and Uncertain

I hope you had a little time to unwind this weekend. I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. The sad news is this week looks as uncertain as last.

I know you don’t have much time. It only takes a moment to choose how you show up.

3 ways to show up:

Choose how you show up or uncertainty will push you around.

#1. During uncertainty, choose to show up with curiosity.

  1. What are we missing?
  2. What are the options?
  3. What might we try?

#2. During uncertainty, show up with empathy and compassion.

I find sympathy degrading.

Sympathy borders on pity. At its worst, sympathy suggests superiority. At its best, sympathy says you care.

People don’t need you to feel sorry for them. They need you to feel sorry WITH them.

Sympathy serves you well when it leads to empathy and compassion. Empathy suggests shared emotion. Compassion suggests dirty hands.

People don’t need pity. They need you to believe in them.

Empathy statements:

  1. Help me understand the stress you’re feeling.
  2. Help me understand what your challenges feel like.

Compassion question:

What can I do to help?

Empathy costs emotional energy. Compassion costs time, resources, and physical energy.

#3. During uncertainty, show up to help.

Helping isn’t doing someone’s job, unless they are incapacitated.

Taking over – doing someone’s job for them – suggests they’re unqualified.

Provide help that enables team members to act with confidence, enthusiasm, and excellence.

  1. What bureaucracy might be eliminated?
  2. Who might you know that could be helpful?
  3. What resources might be available?
  4. How might you clarify priorities so people can ignore insignificant urgencies?
  5. What permission might you provide so initiative doesn’t fear punishment?

The question isn’t how to eliminate uncertainty. The question is how to maximize opportunity.

Which suggestion is most relevant to you?

How might leaders show up during uncertainty?

Bonus material:

The Three Qualities Leaders Need in an Uncertain Future (IDEO)

Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World (CCL)

How to Be an Effective Leader in Times of Change (Gallup)