00:08 Hi, I am Denise Simpson, a master life and leadership coach who helps women step into their authentic and feminine power so they can lead like visionaries, influence with grace, and create a legacy of contribution and service. You'll hear about real leadership clients with real problems navigating their success in life, business, and career. If you're ready to become a masterful leader, then this podcast was made for you. So let's get
00:46 Hey, welcome back later. Listen, I know times are so hard right now. There are layoffs, there are job freezes, there is economic crisis going on. There's so much happening and a lot that's impacting our organizations and ultimately our employees' motivations. And so I wanna talk today about how to keep your team motivated during uncertain times, despite what is happening out in the world. And despite what's happening in the organization, I want you to be prepared to motivate them, to find ways to engage with them more than ever before. Because listen, my dear leader, your employees right now are probably feeling a lot of fear because of the uncertainty that's going on in the world. Just this morning, I had a conversation with someone at my gym who just lost his job. He said, oh, I've had five interviews lined up. And I said, what, what's going on?01:53 I thought you were working over here. And he said, oh, you didn't hear about the thousands of us that got laid off. I said, no, I, I'm, I'm kind of clueless right now. I've been, you know, buried in, in some work right now. I said, what? What's going on? He said, well, they were warning us for some time that this was going to happen. And I was, I so happened to be in the group that was laid off, and they gave me a, a nice severance package, but I'm ready to work and I'm, I'm willing to give my talents and my gifts to another organization. So let's go. And so he was highly motivated, but he told me that leading up to the actual layoff, it was ominous. The emotion of fear and mystery and Doubtfulness was plaguing their productivity. And he's a project manager, , and he said, I couldn't get my employees to do anything.02:52 I couldn't get them to stay focused because I didn't know how to motivate them. I mean, we knew it was coming. The doom and gloom was definitely above us, and we were just waiting for leadership to tell us we were out the door and we were just buying our time. And so we lost a lot of productivity during that timeframe. And he said it was about three weeks of doubtfulness and fear and uncertainty, and people just doing whatever they wanted to do and not listening to hi to his, to his leadership. So he gave me the idea to do this episode for us, how to keep your team motivated despite uncertainty, despite what's happening right now in the economic climate and how it's impacting our organizations. Now, listen, you can't, as a leader, you cannot control everything that happens to your teams. It's impossible to be able to control outcomes.03:51 Now, listen, there are decisions that are made at the board of directors level, at an upper level that you may not have access to. And unfortunately, these are the challenging circumstances that we as leaders have to do the best we can to help ourselves and our employees through these uncertain times. This is the reality of leadership. There will always be uncertainty. I was actually gonna name this episode leading when the constant is uncertainty, when the only constant you need to get familiar with is the emotion of uncertainty. I want it to name it something clever like that. But let's just be very clear, this is about how you can keep your team motivated during these times. So now listen, there are things, like I said, you cannot control. But what you can control is the influence that you have over your teams while you are going through these interesting, challenging times.04:53 And so sometimes we have to inspire them, sometimes we have to motivate them, sometimes we have to lift them up with our words, with our actions, our behaviors. Sometimes we have to step in and lean in a little more than normal, especially during these challenging times of uncertainty. Now, listen, this is a scary time for a lot of organizations. None of my clients, thank goodness, are in this predicament. But this is what's happening. This is the reality of what's going on in these organizations. And I want for you to be prepared. So if you are in this situation, I'm going to share with you a few tips, some ideas for you to implement right away to help your team stay motivated. Now, if you're not in this predicament, you can still use these techniques because one of your primary roles, dear leader, is to keep your team motivated.05:46 So, despite what's happening in the world, despite how happy they are, despite how fearful they are, these techniques are going to help you motivate your team to success. So let's talk a little bit about the word uncertainty. First of all, this word uncertainty. is actually an emotion. It's an emotion that we feel in our bodies. Now, we are uncertain of a lot of things. Sometimes we are uncertain of where our next paycheck is gonna come from. Sometimes we are uncertain whether we are going to have children one day. Some of us are uncertain if we are going to get those, those leadership positions. Some of us are uncertain with, uh, you know, a lover being disloyal, right? We have so much uncertainty in our lives. I mean, think about it. Everything is uncertain. I mean, I don't, I mean, I can do everything I can to control my health, but ultimately, you know, there are things that can happen that I have no control over.06:48 That, that, you know, may, may deem, uh, an an unfavorable diagnosis. My goodness, just saying that freaks me out a little bit. So, uncertainty is part of life. We're uncertain that our children are going to grow up healthy and happy. We are gonna do the best we can as parents to make that happen. We try to control circumstances so that they don't feel pain, that they don't feel suffering, that they're not bullied at school. Well, there's so much you can control, dear parent and dear leader there. Most of the of the things are beyond your control. And I would probably say 99.9% of things are beyond your control. I know it's an illusion. When we have children, we think we control their lives. We, we think we can control their behaviors, but my dear friend, we cannot control their thinking and how they feel, and ultimately the actions that they take when they're not around us.07:41 And so that is quite the eyeopener for a lot of new parents. Now, listen, in the context of leadership, this idea of uncertainty is a lot more familiar to you, right? Because these aren't your kids you're trying to control. They are employees. Now, if you're treating your employees like children, then you and I need to talk about that. But see, we are in an organization and we do everything we can to meet performance measurements, KPIs, we try to align with the core values of the vision, the mission, and, and, and the, the culture of the organization. We do everything we can as leaders to control that aspect of our leadership practice. But ultimately, it is on us to influence behavior, to influence the thinking and the feelings and the behaviors of our employees. That's all we have control over is how we influence them. That means our actions, because influence is a direct correlation to your thinking, to your feeling, and to your actions.08:50 So your influence is controlled by you. But now whether they are impacted by your influence is up to them. So we are uncertain of many things in regards to your leadership. The only thing we can control for sure, is how you think, how you feel, how you behave, and the results that you wanna create for yourself. I know this is a hard pill to swallow for a lot of you, but this is beyond your control. You cannot control a lot in an organization. Now, listen, our brain hates uncertainty. I'm serious. Our brain says, um, I don't think so. I need to, to predict, I need to know what's the next three, four steps. And by the way, that's what your brain is designed to do. It's a predicting machine. It wants to predict what's next. So uncertainty is a, an emotion that doesn't go very well in your body.09:49 I mean, at least not for me, and the average human out there. Now, you, you may be okay with uncertainty because you've tolerated uncertainty and good for you. That is definitely a skill that I'm working on. But for most of us, uncertainty keeps us stagnant. Uncertainty sometimes keeps us frozen. Sometimes we're not moving forward. Sometimes we're actually taking 10 steps back, or we're just running away. So uncertainty is an emotion that's important to process. And so this leads me to our first tip on how you can keep your team motivated. So I want for you, number one, to check in with yourself because I want for you to process what you are feeling at this moment. Again, if you are in this predicament of layoffs or hiring freezes, and your team is scared out of their minds, right? I want for you to check in with yourself first because we cannot help another if we haven't helped ourselves first.10:49 So number one, check in with yourself. How are you processing this right now? What are you feeling right now on a scale of one to 10, where are you on that emotion of uncertainty? 10 being off the chart, , one being low level, no big deal. I got this right, because it, it's the emotion that we want to address because your emotion influences how you behave around your employees and then ultimately a result that you create for yourself. So I want for you to check in with yourself right now. Am I feeling uncertain? And if the answer is yes, where am I on a scale of one to 10? And we only do this to get conscious of what we're measuring here. We're measuring an emotion. So I want for you to stay conscious. And that's the only reason why we do a Likert scale like this so that your brain can register.11:44 Oh, yikes. I am feeling a seven right now, but yesterday I was probably at a four and two weeks ago I was definitely at one. But we got the news about this a week ago. So things are adjusting. I'm changing, my emotion is being elevated. This emotion of uncertainty is definitely elevated now. Okay? So that's the only reason why we ever measure where we are on a Likert scale. So after you do that, I want for you to then ask yourself, what's the main thought that I'm having? And a thought is just a sentence in your head. That's all a thought is. And we have 65,000 of them a day. And for us overthinkers, we are easily having about 90,000 thoughts a day. And so I want for you to pick one sentence. I know you have a lot of them around this emotion of uncertainty.12:36 That's how it works. But I want for you to just pick one dominant thought. What is that thought? And that thought could be, I don't know if I'm gonna have a job tomorrow, period. And that thought is creating this emotion of uncertainty in your body. And when you feel uncertainty, what actions do you take from that emotion? Are you having conversations with employees that are unsettling because you feel uncertain and you don't know how to control that emotion? So you are taking actions that are actually impacting your teams. So what actions are you taking and what actions are you not taking? When you feel this emotion of uncertainty, it's important that we follow this linear progression. And it's not so linear when we look under the hood of our, of our brain. But I want for you to just simplify this with me. The thought, the one sentence that you've identified, the dominant thought that you've identified, it's a sentence in your head that is creating the emotion of uncertainty.13:46 And then when you feel that uncertainty in your body, list out those actions or inactions that you're taking, inactions may look like you just shutting down. It may look like you not speaking to your team because you're afraid to have challenging conversations. Maybe it's you just, you know, turning into a turtle, getting into your shell and not doing anything about helping yourself or your employees. So those are inactions. So I want for you to list out those actions and inactions when you feel uncertain uncertainty in your body. And guess what? Your actions will create a result in your life, in your leadership practice. Remember, we can't control anything outside of us, right? But we can control how we react to things. We can control how we think about things and how we behave from those emotions. I want for you to look at this very simple model.14:44 It's thought, emotion, actions or inactions. And then the result that you create from those actions, this is called the model. And this is what I get to use with my clients. The model was created by Brooke Castillo. She is my coach. She's where I got my certification from. She is an incredible human who is just trying to help and heal the world. And we get to use the model during our coaching sessions with my clients. And so I just wanted to show that to you because it's important that you start getting conscious of how you are behaving and the emotion that's creating those behaviors and the thought that's actually correlated to those emotions. It's important that we look at this progression. Now, it's not such a clean linear progression, but this is as simple as we can get it so that consciously we can understand what's happening and why we're creating these results in our leadership practice.15:38 And so I want for you, again, to check in with yourself by doing this particular exercise. And so we wanna take care of you first leader, because if you are not feeling certain, and listen, you don't have to be a hundred percent certain when you try to motivate your team, right? It's, that's impossible. Listen, I live with fear every day. I live with anxiety every day. All is good, , I'm still functioning and I'm still, uh, you know, creating incredible results in my businesses. So know that you can still feel uncertain and motivate your team at the same time. But what I don't want for you to do is be unconscious of how you're speaking to them because you are feeling uncertain and uncontrolled because of fear and doubt and all the other additional emotions that come usually when you feel uncertainty, because they're looking to you for leadership, they're looking to you for guidance.16:33 So if you are unhinged, guess what they're going to do? They will unhinging themselves. They're going to follow the leader. And so what I want for you to do is get conscious of how you are processing what's happening right now in your organization so that you can then better serve your employees. It's almost like you removing yourself from the acuity of that emotion. It's like, I know I feel this way and I know I need to process some things. And yes, I am feeling fearful because I may not have job security as I thought, but my employees are probably feeling worse. So my job is to help them through this predicament. So what do I need to do to help them? What do I need to do to motivate them to keep going, right? Because they're probably feeling more fear than I am. They're probably feeling some interesting things.17:32 There's probably a lot of gossip, there's a lot of talk right now, and it's just a chain reaction of fear and doubt and uncertainty. So what can I do as their leader to help them through this challenging time? This is the initiative I want for you to take. This is the mindset I want you to approach every single predicament, no matter whether it's a crisis like this of layoffs or job freezing, but in any difficult situation with your team, it's like, how can I support them? Put yourself in their shoes. That's compassion my friend. You're looking at them through their eyes and you are at the same time removing yourself, going, okay, I'm, I have agency over this. What can I do to support them? Because I can't control what they think or feel, but I certainly can try to influence their behavior, their thinking, their feeling, right?18:23 Now I can do that. I can try to do that most definitely. And so that's the power in the agency that I want for you to have, dear leader. So that's number one. Check in with yourself first. Serve yourself first before you can serve your team. Now, number two, I want for you to start leaning into doing more one-on-one meetings. They don't have to be elaborate. They could be short 10 minute check-ins, right? Because you checked in with yourself. That's number one. Now I want for you to check in with them individually. Now, if you have a team of 30, make time. Listen, you gotta make time. This is a difficult, challenging time and you're, you wanna motivate them and it is worth the effort, my friends. It is worth the effort to take the time to show somebody that you care about their wellbeing, that you care about how they're processing this predicament.19:17 You want to show them again, 'cause you're a model of excellence, you want to show them how to respond to crisis. They're gonna model your behavior. So this is a perfect opportunity to do that one on one. Plus you get to check in with their attitude, and you get to more importantly, check in with whether they're stressed out or they're burnt out. This is important. This is not only for you to help motivate them individually, this is for you to get intel. It's for you to get feedback, real world in real time feedback from your individual employee. What attitude are they having? What is their mood? What's going on in their language? How is their non-verbals? What is happening with them at home? Are there conversations that they wanna share with you that have taken place in their homes, but they wanna bring it to the, to the office with you?20:10 Are they having conversations at the water cooler? Is so-and-so talking about this and that, right? This is where you gather intel so that you can keep your ears on the ground, right? This is where you get intel and you get to process that yourself and go, okay, there is a mood throughout this team. So-and-so is talking about this negatively. That is the source of what's going on here, and maybe that's the person I need to go meet with next, right? That's what one-on-one meetings are for. So if you think that you are making more of an effort than you should, you are mistaken this worth building trust with your employees. And by the way, another duty of yours is to build psychological safety. I'm hoping you've already done that before you do anything else. But if you haven't, one-on-one meetings are definitely a way to do that.21:05 So that was number two. Number three, I want for you to check in with the team. So number one was check in with yourself. Number two was check in one-on-one with your individual employees. And number three, you're gonna check in with the entire team at once, and you can do, if you don't do weekly meetings, start doing them now. So yes, you're meeting them with, with them one-on-one, that's private time, but then now you get to meet with them in a group so that the messaging is the same and consistent throughout the team so that so and so-and-so doesn't say, well, you know, she told me behind closed doors that this what's gonna happen. But then the other person said, but what do you mean I didn't hear that? This is the first I'm hearing this. Well, yeah. So then the gossip starts, right? Misinformation happens.21:57 So this is an opportunity for you to stand in front of your team, powerful with agency, with authority, with confidence, and you can speak to them truthfully together so that they all get to see the same thing from you, right? You get to behave in front of them consistently. You get to tell them what you want to tell them about the challenging predicament that's up ahead or whatever they're dealing with at that moment. And you get to reassure them. So not only are you building trust one-on-one behind closed doors, but you're building trust with the team. So the entire team, again, gets to see you in the same light. Now again, we can't control what they think about you individually or collectively, but you get to stand there in front of them, and you get to have hard conversations with the entire team, and you get to keep building trust within that team.22:51 And this is a great opportunity, yes, to build psychological safety, but also transparency. It's like, you know, team, I'm feeling the same way as most of you, and I'm taking some time to process what I'm feeling. But I also want to share with you that I believe in this team, I believe in what we're doing here. I wanna provide you with as much support as possible. So can we have a brainstorming session so that we can talk about how to support you better? I'm open to suggestions. Who would like to begin? That's what you want to show in a meeting. It's like I'm one of you, and I feel the same way too. I, I, yes, I'm the leader. Yes, I have these additional duties and responsibilities, but listen, I'm here for you and I stand behind you. So how can I support you? And then get creative with those conversations.23:44 Talk about what you can do within the organization. Now, I know you can't give 'em a job promotion. I know you can't give 'em a raise, right? That's, that's not, this is not the right time to do that, and you have no power in doing that, but you can get creative perhaps maybe job shadowing, right? Maybe Susie over here in, in accounting wants to job shadow someone in operations, right? She doesn't have access to this person on a daily basis, but she wants to shadow them because maybe that's where she wants to head next. Maybe she's looking into the future because if this job doesn't work well then, you know, maybe somewhere else, uh, and I could do what they're doing in another organization. So get creative on what you can do within your four walls, right? That's the joy of collaborating with your team, is you get to stand in front of them, tell them you support them, show them that they can trust you, and that you definitely trust them, and that you're here to open up the floor to any suggestions to better support them during this time.24:43 That's the point of checking in with your team. All right, dear leader, listen, I know I shared so much with you. Like, as always, I'm, I'm always loading you up with so much information, but I just want for you to know that you can keep your team motivated despite uncertainty. Remember, uncertainty is a constant in our lives and most definitely in our leadership practice. And I want for you to remember to check in with yourself during this time. Check in with them one-on-one. And number three, check in with the team collectively. This will help you help them during this time. All right, dear leader, you can find me over on LinkedIn at Dr. Denise Simpson. I'd love to support you. Go over there, share with me what, what you need support in, and I'd be happy to talk more about that with you. All right, dear Leader, have a wonderful rest of your day and I look forward to serving you on our next episode. Take good care. Hey, leader, do you want weekly leadership tips, coaching and training straight to your email inbox? Yeah, I thought so. Head over to dr denise simpson.com/leadership. Again, that's dr denise simpson.com/leadership. Just submit your name and your email address and we'll get started right away. I look forward to serving you inside your email inbox. See you soon.