An organisation that is off its equilibrium due to internal or external factors, may have to endure a period of uncertainty and the fear that accompanies.
It may be an opportune time to build your team’s resilience and potentially contribute to solving the issues at hand.
In times of fear and uncertainty, lack of information may fuel the growing anxiety and deepen the disengagement of our people. By keeping them informed, some of the imagined fear may dissipate.
With a better understanding of the situation, and the freedom to comment or even criticise the status quo, our people can be empowered to work together on a solution. Leaders have a role not just to create an environment conducive for this, but to listen and also to act on what the people are saying.
Leaders must be advocates of lifelong learning. In times of flux, equipping our people (especially those who are struggling) with the hard and soft skills necessary to manage the fear and changes they are facing go hand in hand with empowerment.
Of course, we should plan to invest in our people and build them up even before times of crisis.
As Gandhi said, “Power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment,” so it is in the context of the workplace; leaders can give their time to genuinely try to understand the concerns of their people.
Perhaps by also sharing some fears of our own, leaders can engage with our people to figure out how to move forward from there.
Leadership is grown on the foundation of authentic relationships. Our people need to know they can trust and respect their team and leaders in order to work towards their common goal.
Relationships go beyond the organisation, so reach out to mentors, your network of professionals as well as the community to counter the fear and its underlying cause.
Building the future
With all the above working in tandem, there’s a great likelihood of building the future of the individual, the team, organisation and ultimately yourself as a leader.
In time, you will be the leader of leaders who in turn build the future of others.
See main story: Is Fear Just A Four-Letter Word For Opportunity?
Karen has taken fairly extreme measures to counter a variety of things she has feared in the past. One thing she knows for sure is that keeping an open mind – always listening and observing how others react and respond to situations – helps her learn and discern. Drop her a line or two in the comment box below or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Consulting Corner articles, click here.
Published in English daily The Star, Malaysia, 21 February 2015