in families, business, churches, communities...
And there are lots of leaders out there like my friends. Some in big businesses and some in small, independent business. Can I afford to pay my employees? When do I cut my losses? What now?
And there are, in a way, leaders like this out there in every family right now. Facing tighter budgets and having to make tougher, scarier decisions.
For all of you out there leaders in business, families, churches, communities organizations…I want to do the one thing I can do, which is bring my passion for nerdy social science and resilience type-stuff to provide some reassurances. Four of them to be exact:
What the research in heuristics and biases and emotions tells us is that in fact high confidence in decision making is often totally unrelated to the quality or accuracy of the decision. The more pessimistic, negative emotions you as leaders are feeling right now is likely actually helping you to make some of the best, most accurate, most informed decisions you’ve ever made. When we feel positive emotions, we tend to more consistently rely on our heuristics for decision making. When we feel negative emotions, it pushes us to seek broader information, weigh all the facts, and think more critically. So know that if you are feeling the weight of your decisions, if you are feeling uncertain about the future, you and your brain are probably doing the right thing.
I hate to say it, but if the decisions you’re making right now feel awful and painful, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is the place you want to be. If the decisions you are making today are for the long-term (9-18 month) benefit of our organization and our people…then you’re probably doing it right. It means you’re fighting against our behavioral instinct to make decisions in reaction to near-term losses and gains.
“In the midst of uncertainty and fear, leaders have an ethical responsibility to hold their people in discomfort – to acknowledge the tumult but not fan it, to share information and not inflate or fake it…When we are managing during a time of scarcity or deep uncertainty, it is imperative that we embrace the uncertainty. We need to tell our teams that we will share as much as we’re able when we’re able…There is incredible relief and power in naming and normalizing fear and uncertainty. We have to find the courage to look back at the people who are looking at us for leadership and say, ‘This is difficult. There are no simple answers. There is pain and fear that would be easy to unload on others – but that would be unfair and out of our integrity. We will walk through this in a way that makes us feel proud. It will be hard, but we will do it together.”
If you’re feeling some big emotions in this time…that’s expected. Grant yourself permission to feel all of those emotions. In order to do that, you’re likely first going to have to give yourself permission to PAUSE. Pause. Just…pause more often than you currently are. Don’t pause from work to scroll your social media feed or catch a few minutes of the morning news. Literally just pause and sit and tune inward. Breathe. Ask yourself, “how am I feeling right now?” And notice how your mind and body respond. That’s it. Pause and inquire within. You may be surprised at your power to tune-in and you may be surprised at the information your body give you.
Hi! I'm Piers. I am an Ultimate player, spouse, parent, and human performance coach. My passion and my profession is to help individuals and teams perform at their best through research-based mental skills, resilience, leadership and team dynamics training.
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