Angie Snow, Vice President of Western Heating & Air Conditioning in Orem, Utah, knows the importance of continuing to move forward when the world stops.
The world hasn’t stopped, of course. It has just slowed down significantly due to the Coronavirus outbreak, and the status quo is updated almost daily. In times of crisis we need capable, effective leaders who make logic-based decisions. That makes emotional management a necessary skill to master for those in leadership positions.
Here are some of the best tips from Snow’s playbook, shared her recent Women in HVACR webinar, Moving Forward When the World Stops.
1. Be a leader to your team.
It’s especially important for leaders to keep moving forward, Snow says, because the usual reaction to facing fear is to stop. “They stop trying and stop pushing forward,” she says. “If people are looking to you as someone they can follow, you can be a leader.”
You can apply this mindset to your business, your home, or even in your community. Keep your wits about you as others will be looking to you for guidance.
“The way that we react to a situation is how we will be defined as a leader,” Snow says.
2. Find your power in the situation.
In times of crisis, many things are out of our control. We can’t change the news, the stock market, government orders, or many other things that play important roles in our lives. Snow recommends focusing on the things that you can control — rather than dwelling on the things that you cannot.
“I have control over my emotions, my attitude, and the way that I’m going to respond,” Snow says. “The words I speak and the actions that I take. Leaders know this, leaders know what they actually have control over and then they take action.”
3. Manage your emotions.
Our backgrounds and past experiences are what form our reactions to situations. We all have different views and beliefs that shape how we become programmed to respond to situations. But luckily that programming can be changed if it’s not serving our current needs.
“Emotion is energy in motion,” says Snow. “If we can properly manage and get a grip on our emotions, we can make a more rational decision. When we do not have control of our emotions, that is when we act irrationally.”
Be a leader who builds and creates, not one who blames and complains. A negative outlook will only add to the chaos and fear. Snow recommends recognizing a negative thought or feeling and then releasing it. Holding onto negative thoughts can be a contributor to irrational thinking and poor decision-making.
Snow recommends clearing out negative thoughts through talking, writing, singing or listening to uplifting music, or reaching out to others who you think can help.
Another component to Snow’s emotional management plan is to limit social media and the news. Being immersed in the headlines can cause people to feel worse when it’s all doomsday updates.
One of the most helpful ways to boost your mood is to get outside. Being cooped up indoors for long stretches is bound to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Get outside and get some sunshine and a brisk walk or jog around your neighborhood. Of course, maintain the recommended social distance from others while you are out and try to stay near your home.
Snow also recommends building and creating in times of crisis. There’s nothing like a project to keep yourself motivated and focused on moving forward.
4. Take the three steps to leadership in times of crisis.
Snow recommends a three-step course of action when you’re leading.
Decide: “Decide to be the calm one that people can look to. This is a mindset and a decision you make,” says Snow. Take responsibility for this energy and project it to your teams.
Fortify: Your thoughts and words and imagery are contributing to emotions; therefore, you want to inject positive words and imagery into your day-to-day routine. Stay grounded and stay focused. Replace negative words and thoughts with positive encouraging words.
Engage: Do not ignore what is going on. Instead, accept it and act. The best leaders who have led us in a time of crisis are the ones who aren’t afraid to face whatever is coming at them because they have been able to manage their emotions and started to identify possible solutions and ways to move forward.
5. Overcome the mindset of fear.
To overcome the pain of losing something based on fear, Snow recommends focusing on something that you’ve gained from this experience. That could be difficult for many of us in these uncertain times, but there’s always a silver lining if we search hard enough.
“Fear usually comes from one of three places,” Snow says. “A fear that you’re going to have pain or lose something, fear of the process, or the third type of fear, the fear of the outcome. We automatically go to the worst-case scenario in many situations.”
That means we jump straight to the negative, instead of thinking about spending more time with our kids, not having to commute to work, having time to do projects around your house, reading those books you’ve been meaning to get to, or learning a new skill or hobby.
All of these bright spots can help to take the focus off of the negative thinking patterns and refocus that energy onto something positive.
6. Focus on having the right mindset.
It might get tough to get out of bed and into a work mindset some days, but continue to move forward. Snow suggests focusing on the basics to restore a sense of normalcy.
Confidence: Decide you are going to lead with confidence, and believe in yourself. If you are confident, it will make others confident in your abilities and leadership skills.
Patience: This will pass. We do not know what the future holds but we can be patient and proactive throughout the process.
Courage: Do not shut down. Leaders are needed in these times and leaders push through.
Visualize: Attach a positive image to where you want to be. Visualization is a great tool for coping in times of crisis, call upon your imagination to help build good feeling thoughts for your future.
Ask for Help: Connect with others to help get through a tough time. While we haven’t experienced anything like this in our lifetimes, there are people who have also dealt with hardships, they could have helpful advice.
Refocusing on what’s going right and where there are opportunities for improvement is one of the best ways to shift your mindset in times of crisis.
Use these tools to reinvigorate your leadership capabilities and provide guidance to your teams, families, and businesses in these constantly evolving times.
Resources for the trades
For the latest information on how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting the trades, check out our Coronavirus blog, our Facebook group for customers and our Facebook group for the industry.
If you have story ideas or questions, you can email us. We’d love to tell your story about how you’re helping in your community or dealing with these uncertain times, or just help answer your questions.