As humans, we always live with a certain amount of concern and uncertainty about how life will develop. Some of us experience uncertainty as bothersome and obstructive. Others can be triggered by it and are actively seeking for the unknown because they find inspiring challenges that lead them forward. Most of us are somewhere in between in our general approach. Then we all, of course, commute in the more concrete between diverse approaches to the different parts of our lives. We can feel safe about our families and our home life, but worry about being laid off. We may be financially stable but also be afraid of our marriage crashing. No one knows what the future will hold. However, the more secure we experience the present, the more we will feel able to look ahead, dream and plan about how we should act in the future.
What happens when nobody really knows? When we all, almost simultaneously, lose our usual sight and end up in a major crisis? When safety and security disappear, and our existence is shaken by concrete risks and threats that directly affect our existence? And when this happens at different levels – at the individual, family, corporate, organisational, country and world levels? Health-wise and financially at the same time? When will we begin to realise that the dangers we are currently facing have no end in sight? That it will get worse, probably much worse before we reach some kind of normalisation? Maybe not to what it was before, but at least to something that feels stable and secure.
We can see it as having a mental fog right now. We have poor visibility and no answer about the results of the crisis.
Here are 6 guidelines we can follow to deal with whatever happens in the best possible way:
- Adapt to change: One positive thing is that mankind has the capacity to quickly rethink and relate to new conditions when forced to. Then to act and find ways forward. We have all seen countless examples of this in recent weeks. New creative ideas and solutions arise.
- Stay informed: It is important that we quickly update ourselves about the new circumstances, that we seek reliable facts, that we look at our situation and context with acceptance. The more we see the situation as it is, the faster we can begin to move in the fog and grasp emerging possibilities as we carry on. This is a process and we need to switch between different perspectives. It is good to stick to our long-term plans if they are helpful. Though, for many of us, it is more about having a one-day-at-a-time strategy or maybe planning for a week at a time. For some, it is even just about hours, minutes and seconds. I think, for example, of the health care personnel who take care of the seriously ill and injured at emergency clinics.
- Keep an open mind: It is good to work with different scenarios. To be mentally prepared for everything – from the worst to the alternative that it will be new and perhaps even better than before. At least in the long run.
- Positive contribution: We should revise our own roles. Think about our mission in what is happening. Be sure to be as constructive as possible, whether it is about one’s efforts in important community assignments, contributions in the workplace or the impact one has on family and relationships.
- Develop new skills: A concrete, given thing right now is to get better at digital communication. Regardless of the starting point, we can all further develop our digital expertise. Ok, many of us do not meet IRL right now, but we can anyway be great at communicating with each other.
- Be enthusiastic: One last thing is to positively influence what we can influence. We must try to rejoice in what we have and consciously strengthen ourselves. It can be to enjoy the fact that we are heading towards summer as if no corona had ever happened. It can be to work out or to learn something new. Maybe to help others handle upcoming challenges as well as possible.
To finish, let’s ponder on what is especially important for leaders in these times. It is interesting to hear many views and experiences about this. My own impression is that, during these times, we very clearly see whether there is good leadership in operation or not. Some, who may not have had the spotlight on them before, have stepped forward with clarity and strength. Others fail as soon as adversity comes. Regardless of the nature of the leadership assignment, care must be taken not to act in panic or affect as the risk is high that one’s decision-making may be inadequate. We need leaders who react objectively and quickly to the problems that exist. Leaders who seek reliable expert knowledge, views, and perspectives. Leaders who step forward, with strength, calmness and transparency. Who gather their teams and who are able to create confidence within their operations that the proposed plans are the best that can be presented in the given situation.
However arduous the situation is or may become, new opportunities are emerging in the aftermath. Life may change direction and become different from what we had imagined in the past. In addition to all the negative effects, we also have positive and exciting challenges ahead. Let us focus on these future opportunities as soon as possible for us. And if you are strong and quick to adapt, share your strength with others who need your leadership and / or contributions.