The Results are in… How are you going to respond?

2020 has already provided us with tons of opportunities to rise as leaders. Whether you have a formal leadership position in an organization or not, it is likely that you will be called upon to lead in the coming days.

Here are ten strategies to help you respond vs. react.

Take care of yourself

  1. Reflect – Consider in advance: how will you show up as a leader; what do your followers or those around you need most from you right now; how can you provide it to them?
  2. Pause, take a deep breath before responding to someone or something, particularly if you have a different viewpoint – Give yourself and others space.
  3. Feel your feelings. There are five primary emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. It is important to be able to recognize these emotions, name them, describe where they show up, and reflect on them. Also, release your emotions in a positive way (like talking it out, exercise, breathing, journaling, etc.)

Take care of others’ needs

  1. Maintain self-esteem and respect for others – How can I express myself while maintaining others’ self-esteem and value as a human being?
  2. Listen more, talk less – This one gets me, as I tend to jump in and want to solve things. What does the other person need in this interaction? Sometimes, it’s just to be heard.
  3. Respond with empathy – attempt to understand others’ feelings and give them space to feel.

Be mindful

  1. Shift your perspective – What is another way of looking at this situation?
  2. Focus on facts – Consider a political issue that makes you upset. Write down the facts. Then write down all the stories you make up about the facts. What do you notice? We often get more upset about the stories we tell ourselves than the facts.
  3. Get Curious – ask questions to learn and understand, e.g., “tell me more about that…”, “help me understand…” Also, we can learn a lot from people with different perspectives. For inspiration and ideas on approaches, check out the positive work being done by and watch a (4 min) clip of it in action with my amazing friend Tracy Hollister facilitating a Living Room Conversation on Immigration across the political divide.
  4. Be aware of biases such as “affinity” or “like me” bias – not everyone has the same views as you do. Do not make assumptions.

While we can’t control the outcome of the election, we can control our actions and response.
These are tips for every day, not just during election season.

Let’s rise up as leaders.

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