March 20, 2020

Double down on your well being


How to lead when you feel anxious and uncertain; start by leading yourself

The world is in the grip of Coronavirus chaos and market mayhem. Emotional contagion is spreading even faster than the virus. At a time like this, what do we want from our leaders? Calm, of course. We also want reassurance, compassion, hope and clarity about the pathways forward.

But what if you’re the leader? What if people are looking to you for calm and certainty at a time when you feel as uncertain and anxious as they do? The first person you have to lead is yourself.

Our health is critical on a good day, but even more important when we’re surrounded by apparent chaos. Unfortunately, chaos can encourage the loss of self-discipline and the rise of unhelpful behaviours like consuming too much “news”, deprioritising exercise, eating poorly, sleeping less, shallow breathing, working around the clock, disconnecting from others, and so on.

We’re no good to anyone else unless we look after ourselves first. The following actions can help:

  • Prioritise exercise, diet, deep breathing and rest, even more than usual. Aside from being good for you, it will also likely raise your sense of self-efficacy and self-confidence at exactly the time you need it most.
  • Connect with those you love, respect and who give you energy. If you can’t connect in person, catch-up on a video call. As much as possible, avoid those who have an unhealthy love of drama.
  • Narrow your media consumption to a few sources that you trust; those focused on reporting facts rather than sensationalising the situation and spreading fear.
  • Pay attention to your entertainment consumption. Are the shows you watch and the books you read helping you to feel calm and relaxed, or anxious and worried? I love Homeland and Curb Your Enthusiasm equally, but Larry David is much better for my nervous system at the end of a challenging day.
Dr. Peter Fuda

Dr. Peter Fuda

Dr. Peter Fuda has been a Sherpa to leaders, teams and organizations across the globe as a consultant, coach, author, researcher, speaker and professor of management. VistaJet partners with leadership expert Dr Peter Fuda to support you during times of uncertainty.