Lessons In Leadership: Learning To Be Ordinary In Extraordinary Times

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Leadership has always been talked about as being extraordinary in both ordinary and exceptional times. But no one talks about developing the ability to be ordinary in extraordinary times.

As a leadership coach and founder of Talent Power Partners, I experienced this for myself.

The present situation with the pandemic is one of the most humbling experiences that the existing global population has faced.

It's an equalizer. It throws the spotlight on our helplessness as human beings while also bringing out the heart-touching moments in humanity.

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How can one be ordinary in extraordinary times?

First, accept this fact: The current times are hard, whether you're still in lockdown or out of it.

Along with the practical difficulties of living daily life while staying safe and healthy, everyone has been facing an emotional churn.

The fears of present reality and the anxiety of the future seem to be the predominant global emotion. There are many people trying to rise to the occasion by staying optimistic and solution-oriented.

Yet, it's so much harder to be so. It feels so elusive to stay focused while working from home.

Leaders who run large global teams, efficient, intelligent, experienced, and always in control of situations are now faced with this unprecedented reality.

No one knows what the future holds.

The prediction of the future has never been this uncertain.

Like most Type A people, I decided to use this time to shine. While others were in survival mode, I decided to use this opportunity to thrive. Yet, I could not.

During this period, I have mostly had a positive attitude and approach in dealing with things, but sometimes I do find myself unfocused and unmotivated.

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What leaders need to embrace in unprecedented times. 

Despite being equipped with all the tools as a coach to keep me engaged and inspired, I realized I was still unable to operate at optimal performance.

As I reflected on this, I recognized two critical things to navigate these rough times.

I realized what was needed right now was to allow myself to feel vulnerable. It's natural to feel out of balance if you have always had a plan or big goals and now the path to them feels unfamiliar or non-existent.

If your team looks to you for answers, it's OK to say you don't have any, because you truly don’t. If you have to miss a meeting to take care of your child at home, admit it.

By allowing yourself to be ordinary, you will take so much pressure off your shoulders and this simple act will make you extraordinary in these times.

The second thing that can genuinely help deal with current circumstances is staying present. The need to have faith and remain in the present moment is now needed more than ever before.

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Every time your mind tries to analyze future possibilities, it's bound to be confused. You will find yourself spiraling into anxiety and worry. That's just the nature of the brain.

It will try to make sense of existing parameters, all of which are being challenged at the moment.

Bring yourself back to the present while keeping the faith that it will all be OK, and if not, you will have the resources to deal with it then.

Worrying about it now only sucks away valuable energy, it's exactly what shakes the focus and high performance in the now.

Identify those actions, rituals, or practices that allow you to execute on the above two points. The better you get at that, the more your leadership abilities will improve.

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Bhavna Dalal is a Master Certified Executive Coach MCC ICF, Speaker, and author of "Checkmate Office Politics" who helps people develop their leadership skills, such as executive presence, strategic thinking, influencing and networking, women leadership, and so on. To read her writing which has been published in Forbes, Fortune, Economic times, and many more, and to know more about her work, visit her site and follow her on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published at Fortune India. Reprinted with permission from the author.