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Leadership in times of Chaos

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Things are a bit crazy right now. The world doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Everything is off kilter. It’s okay if you’re not okay. 

Feeling scared, disoriented, and uncertain in times like these is perfectly normal. That doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you fragile. You can be scared and brave at the same time. In fact, courage doesn’t exist without fear. 

The fact is, you’re still the same badass leader you’ve always been. You’re just in uncharted territory. And people are looking to you. This is a huge opportunity. How will you use it?

Now is the Time for Self-Reflection

You don’t have to have a plan in place yet (we’ll get there next week). First, you need to take some time to reflect. You can’t lead effectively if you aren’t aware of your own thoughts, emotions, and fears. And you can’t let those feelings drive your decisions.

Suddenly working from home can throw things out of whack. Working in an office environment provides important structure for most teams, so figuring out how to lead through that can be daunting. Maybe you’re also caring for a child, trying to figure out how to get groceries to an elderly parent, or struggling to separate housework from office work. Your team is likely wrestling with similar concerns. That’s a lot to take on.

So, I want you to ask yourself: what am I anxious about? Are my concerns about how everyone else on my team is reacting to this situation adding to my anxiety? What am I feeling?

And remember: if you’re feeling anxious, stressed out, and off your game, you know your team probably is, too. If you haven’t done so already, set aside some time today to reach out to your staff, ask them how they’re doing, and reassure them that it’s okay to be thrown off,frustrated or anxious.  The simple act of getting in touch to let them know you’re there to listen will help to curb their anxieties.

Start Envisioning New Possibilities

It’s important to identify your feelings and anxieties, first.  Once you’ve done that, you can decide not to let them determine how you’ll lead.  

Now it’s time to start shifting your mindset. You can grow from this. You can learn from this. You will lead through this. 

Ask yourself: 

  • What are the opportunities here? 
  • How can I come out of this as a better, stronger leader than I was before? 
  • How can I use my pain points to grow?
  • How do I want this to change me for the better?


Maybe you’re going to become more agile, more adaptable, or more empathetic. Maybe you’re going to become more structured. Or more creative. Maybe you’re going to use this opportunity to do deep work or flex your critical thinking skills. 

Start thinking of your new circumstances as a springboard for growth.

Homework: Make a Mantra

I want you to spend the next few days coming up with a mantra for yourself. Something to get you fired up. Something that’ll really motivate you. I want you to get pumped.

Maybe your mantra will be “I’m becoming the agile leader I’ve always wanted to be” or “I will grow as I lead my team through this crisis” or “I can adapt to what’s happening around me. And I will thrive.” Once you have it, write it down. Read it every morning. Repeat it outloud when things get crazy. Use it to keep yourself on track.

Things are scary right now. The world feels uncertain. And you have a choice: are you going to be led by others? Or are you going to make the choice to step up and LEAD?

I already know which one you’ll choose. Because that’s what leaders do. 

Next week, we’re going to make an action plan. In the meantime, you can always reach out to me at I’m here for you. We’re all in this together.

Pooja Dang is a Women’s Executive Leadership Coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area, serving clients globally at companies such as Google, GoPro, Dropbox, and more. With over 15 years of experience in coaching, advising, and propelling women towards rapid career advancement and promotion, she specializes in high-impact workshops and dynamic 1:1 coaching, delivering breakthrough outcomes and accelerated change. Pooja has a proven track record of coaching women into the C-suite and is a trusted expert in growing executive presence, expanding influence, high-stakes negotiations, and leadership development. Using proven scientific strategies, transformative behavior tools, and a no-BS approach, Pooja is on a mission to empower more women to live confidently at the top of their game. Book your free consultation today. #ExecutiveCoach #LeadershipDevelopment #WomenInLeadership #BehaviorChange #CsuiteCoaching


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