Although we may want to, we can’t control everything in our workplaces or personal lives.
Take for instance this terrible Nor’easter that my community has faced for the past few days. Many of us lost power and couldn’t drive down the streets as they were covered in fallen trees and branches. Or maybe you are experiencing a major realignment at work and you are concerned with working with a new boss. You had a strong connection with your old boss and feel angry about starting all over again building a relationship. Or maybe you just lost a job that you really loved.
It sometimes seems that leaders are constantly being asked to step out of their comfort zone. It is assumed that we will go with the flow even if we are frustrated. What if we looked at these uninvited circumstances through a different lens? Instead of feeling “put upon” to accept an event or change, we choose to seize the moment as a possible opportunity.
Five Leadership Empowerment Strategies:
1. Avoid Becoming Paralyzed
An initial human reaction to unwelcomed news is often shock or disbelief. We can’t comprehend that something is happening that we can’t control. We try to talk ourselves out of it and can even pretend it isn’t happening. That’s alright for a bit and then we need to just breathe. Leaders empower themselves by taking healthy breaths to wake up their brains. When I lost power I initially fell apart and then I pulled myself together by breathing and clearing my mind.
2. Lean In To the Reality of the Event
Once we start to accept what has happened we can see it from all sides. We can analyze what has happened by asking ourselves some important questions:
- What actually just took place?
- What impact will this have on my professional life?
- How will I get to know my new boss?
- What do I need to do to conduct my job search?
3. Turn to your Fan Club for Help
When leaders are faced with challenging events it is critical to be able to reach out for help to our supporters. This is the time to call in your chips and do the “ask”. There is a wonderful article I came across about how to ask people for a favor. This is the time to do it. Think about how you would want to help someone else if they were out of work or frustrated with a new boss.
4. Develop a Manageable Game Plan
The next step in leadership empowerment is putting together a clear plan of action on how to proceed. For the first time I needed to use my generator that I purchased five years ago and was never needed. Although fearful, my husband and I carefully read the directions and decided we could do this. We had continually tested out the generator so we knew it was ready to go. And guess what? We were successful!
- Plan ahead for an unwelcomed event-make sure your resume is up to date
- Keep growing your skills and experiences
- Create a plan that makes sense and will propel you forward
5. Be Clear on Lessons Learned
Empowerment is being able to continually grow from our experiences so that when they occur again we can recognize how we handled the situation in the past and know just what to do. Just like many of you, I have had many different bosses and I learned to deal with different work styles. I also have worked with many personalities way different from mine but I have learned to flex to their ways of doing things. Whatever the lesson you have learned make sure to employ it when that uninvited event comes your way. That’s what empowered leaders do.
What other leadership empowerment strategies have worked for you?
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