I’m feeling angry, sad and scared about what’s happening in Ukraine right now. Maybe you are, too.

No matter where you are on the org chart, you can use these conscious leadership tools to help the people around you to manage their emotions and fears. (This works for your dinner table, too.)

The point is to listen encourage everyone to speak up, feel heard and to move out of fear and into conscious action.

1. Leave time at the beginning of a meeting for a check-in. Encourage people to speak unarguably by naming their emotions and noticing any body sensations or thoughts. It’s called speaking unarguably because this is what’s true for you in this moment. Or, give everyone a minute or two to say how they are feeling (you can use a timer). Taking a few deep breaths as a group helps people manage their emotions and dissipate the chemical cocktail of fear.

2. Let people know that they can share if they are personally affected. Practice conscious listening from your head, heart and your gut. Don’t try to fix anything while you are listening or project your feelings. Just listen.

3. Create an environment of self-advocacy by encouraging people to take 100 percent responsibility for themselves.  Don’t assume you know what they need; ask them. If you have an idea of how to help, preface it with: “Would it be helpful if…” or “I have a suggestion, would you like to hear it?”

Once you’ve created a space for people to feel heard, you can choose your action steps, whether that’s supporting affected colleagues or whatever aligns with your company (or family) plan for responding to turmoil or disasters. 

For an example of conscious leadership in action, read about Vlada Bortnik, founder of the messaging app Marco Polo. She fled Ukraine as a child and founded the app to stay close to family in Poland. As events unfolded in Ukraine, she was shaken.

“It’s so important to just bring up how you’re being affected as a leader,” she says in an Inc article. “To say, I’m not as present as I am usually because of what’s going on.”

Ready for life-changing feedback? 

I’m planning the next cohort of my Conscious Leadership Circle! I know September is a long way off, but I’m dreaming of meeting in person at least once in beautiful California, so here’s your advance notice!  The eight women who join this circle want to give and receive feedback for their personal and professional growth. They know they’re creators of their own reality and they don’t want to settle. They’re taking responsibility for their impact on the world. Sound like you? Get on the waitlist!


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