Would you prefer reading the article in Danish? Then you can read it here.
Normally, it is my clients company that pays for their sessions. I’d like to make my expertise available for free to a wider audience in this article as I know, that many people are struggling to deal with uncertainty at this time where Corona is making it absolutely impossible for anyone to predict the future. So in this article, you will get three ways to deal with uncertainty.
If you are struggling with how to lead in uncertainty you could also follow my articles on how to lead in uncertainty.
Being a manager with anxiety or dealing with anxiety as a leader can feel like a lonely affair. But actually you are not alone. Not at all.
Feeling anxious is very common
Anxiety is a normal feeling – unfortunately. The numbers for the UK is, that 8,9 million people in 2018 were under treatment for feeling anxious and the same picture shows in the Nordics. In Denmark, where I am based, 350.000 people are feeling anxious on a daily basis and 1 out of 10 will experience anxiety for some reason in life. But it’s not only in Denmark that anxiety is a common feeling. All over Europe we are feeling more anxious than ever before measured. Actually 12 % of the EU population are in treatment for anxiety.
One of the major reasons for anxiety is crises. The corona crisis it provoking uncertainty and anxiety. In new time the Brexit was a big player in increasing anxiety and stress for the EU citizens and of course mostly in the UK. This was a time (and still is) with huge uncertainty. All over Europe, therapists, coaches, psychologists etc. were seeing a jump in calls just after Brexit (and the following month over month) due to the uncertainty it raised. But, it is not only the major crises, that trigger our feeling of anxiety. Also, changes in life and organisational changes can be triggers. Because of the fact that anxiety, stress and depression are so common, and all three classified as widespread diseases, the European Union has made guidelines for companies and institutions facing organisational changes. To me, it shows that the EU takes it very seriously and recognize the unpleasant truth about how much anxiety, stress and depression are infecting our wellbeing.
Research points at, that especially big changes can cause anxiety, stress, and depression which infect the common wellbeing.
Uncertainty is a normal trigger
As you can tell, uncertainty is a normal trigger in the brain for every human being. David Rock from the NeuroLeadership Institute has conceptualized the research, that scientists have made on what activates fear and stress in people. Certainty is a big trigger. It is just so, that not many people, especially not people in power, have the habit of exposing their anxiety. But that doesn’t mean, that they are not feeling it. On the contrary, a healthy person will sometimes feel anxiety.
3 ways to deal with uncertainty and anxiety
In the following, I will point out three approaches to deal with uncertainty and anxiety. Some of the approaches will feel easy, some will feel hard. It is not all quick fixes, but approaches that can make a substantial impact and improvement. Not just now, but for the rest of your life. Some ways might be more effective for some than others, so feel free to adjust and make them yours. Also, you might need to be able to combine some of the ways or add other ones. Every person is unique and that is one of the reasons why coaching is so effective, because in coaching we identify exactly what is provoking the anxiety in you, and what works for you as a leader dealing with the uncertainty and anxiety. So please consider the following to be more generic.