How to Find Bravery in Chaos.
We had a tragic event at our farm this week, one of our favorite beloved lambs had an injury and passed away despite all of our medical interventions, prayers, and focus. This was a crushing blow to all of us but especi
ally to my two young daughters, their first big farm loss. How do you grieve? This was a question we spent a lot of time talking about. My oldest daughter (13) said, “I want to be strong and for my sister, to set a good example of bravery so she can come to me if she needs support, but I am so sad, I don’t know how I am supposed to do this.”
I was struck by the similarity in leading a team when the unexpected happens. There are no answers, it is all new to you, yet, you need to lead your team. There are two options, put on a “brave face” and dismiss your own feelings of hesitancy, fear, and trepidation or show up as you are, human. A leader who doesn’t have every answer, who feels the same as you but also is driven to rise. Leaders are driven to build on the uncertainty and find the positivity and opportunity that hides within the chaos. The example you set by showing your hesitation, fear, and vulnerability allows for moments of productive uncertainty. You may not change the circumstance but you can choose not to be a victim. You can choose to learn and build your team towards resilience.
As I told my daughter, bravery and support for your sister is allowing her to see you cry but at the same time opening your arms to include her. It is admitting you are confused by what has happened but at the same time not walking away from the pain. Standing present despite the heart-wrenching feelings because experiencing this as a family will strengthen our family.
I have seen so many leaders crumble and hide in the wake of adversity and high stress. At the moment you need them most, they retreat. Certainly, we have all felt that tug to run and hide and while that may give you a moment of solitude, it sends a very strong message. If you really want to be a leader, if you are in this for the long term, you have to be a leader at all times, not just when it is easy and profitable. Here is the key, you don’t have to do it alone, your team will and can support you. This is what humanity is all about. Believe it or not, they will actually see you as a stronger leader if you show your humanity. Try it, it is quite liberating!
Simon Sinek talks about the need for courage, courage to create relationships and connections with others so when you are faced with challenging times you are able to call upon your team for support. Courage is taking down the hierarchy and recognizing that without investing in each other you will never succeed. The recognition that there will be times that asking for support and insight is not only needed but expected and revered.
My Challenge To You:
Challenge your assumptions around leadership and independence vs. interdependence? Is leadership a solo sport? How might you weave the two a bit more tightly?
Have you created a team dynamic in which you allow for and support uncertainty and fear?
If transparency and honesty were the cultural norm, how would this change your team's conversation and level of trust?
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