Published on entrepreneur.com | December 12, 2023

In times of global turbulence, understanding the profound journey of leadership becomes crucial. Insights shared underscore the significance of inner growth, authentic connection, and purposeful support for teams.

Key Takeaways

  • What it means to go inward
  • How to truly support your team

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We live in an era of great uncertainty and turmoil. As leaders, how we respond in this moment will define us. Now more than ever, we must go inward and lead from a place of wisdom, compassion and courage.

The world today is complex. Conflicts rage in many regions, economies falter, and divisions run deep. Meanwhile, the rapid pace of technological change disrupts everything. People do not detach from their worries when they show up to work. Rather, they carry their anxieties and stresses with them, though often suppressed below the surface.

As leaders, we must acknowledge the reality that the turbulence and uncertainty happening globally seep into and affect the inner state of our people. What’s unfolding outside in the larger world is also unfolding inside each of us. The turbulence outside unavoidably affects our people’s inner state. To ignore this is to lack empathy and awareness. What’s happening in the world around is also happening within.

What it means to go inward

So, what does it mean to go inward as a leader? Firstly, it requires doing our own inner work — examining our fears, judgments and anger. It requires us to embark on our own hero’s journey of internal discovery. Today’s leaders cannot merely manage outcomes. We must steward the human spirit. Our outer leadership is limited without inner growth.

Going inward also entails making our connections with people more personal and real. Ask them sincere questions. How are you navigating all this change and uncertainty? Where do you feel stuck right now? What more can I do to support you? Keep your door wide open. Have courageous conversations that foster trust and understanding.

By providing this space for authenticity, people feel safe to bring their whole selves to work. Vulnerability is met with compassion, not judgment. This human connection empowers people to take risks, innovate and lean into growth.

We must remember that our team members are multi-dimensional humans seeking meaning, not resources to be exploited. Yes, we have organizational goals to accomplish — but realize that each person is on their own unique journey. When we tap into that deeper longing in our people, we unlock their greatest potential.

Too often, leaders obsess over metrics and outcomes, disconnected from the real humans underneath. But leadership stems from within. Great leaders uplift and ignite the whole individual. We awaken, inspire and empower. The vigor of our organizations depends on the wellbeing of our people. When we fan their inner fire, they can move mountains.

What it means to support your team

So, how do we translate this inward leadership into truly supporting our teams? It starts with meeting people where they are. Listen deeply. Offer encouragement and reassurance. Help unburden their concerns, so their best selves can emerge. Healing happens through human connection. When people feel truly seen and valued, they will walk through walls for you.

Especially in tumultuous times, people desire comfort, meaning and direction. They look to leaders to steady the course ahead. Be honest about challenges, while casting an empowering vision forward. Remind people of their higher purpose. Inspire hope through possibility. Our confidence as leaders allows others to believe.

Now more than ever, the world needs visionary leaders focused on potential, not just managing outcomes. Imagine futures not yet created. When we expand possibility, we pull our people upward with us. This unlocks their creativity and potential.

Anchor in your organization’s deeper purpose. Let this North Star guide all decisions and plans. When you face challenges, return to purpose. Reorient yourself. Purpose is the spiritual backbone of any organization. It’s the “why” that ignites people from within. When connected to purpose, people stop clocking in and start creatively contributing.

Keep this purpose up front. Repeatedly remind your people of your shared mission. Ritualize it. Share stories that bring your purpose alive. Tie every action back to this North Star. When rooted in purpose, people withstand any storm.

In difficult times, some leaders isolate themselves, avoiding real conversations. They posture strength externally but feel fear inside. This “mask of leadership” projects confidence yet fails to inspire loyalty.

True leadership requires emotional courage. Vulnerability is strength. The most respected leaders move toward challenges rather than retreating. They embrace discomfort. Be real. Be humble. Admit what you don’t know. Ask for help. Show your humanity.

Crisis presents every leader with a choice: Shrink back into fear or advance into growth. Difficult times force evolution. Today’s challenges can help us connect more authentically, lead with greater wisdom and shed limiting beliefs. But we must consciously choose growth over fear. Every great leader emerges from the fire transformed.

Growth starts by quieting external noise and going inward. Listen to your higher wisdom and intuition. Let this be your compass when seas are stormy. Don’t lose hope. Anchor in purpose. Uplift others through a shared vision. Have courageous conversations. Lead with authenticity. Move together as one tribe.

As leaders, we must affirm the full humanity of every team member. Make your people feel truly seen, valued and worthy of love. Help them actualize their higher potential. When people feel safe to be vulnerable, they unleash their greatest gifts.

Keep reinforcing the transcendent mission shared by all. Remind your people that each of them is a vital thread in a larger tapestry. Restore people’s faith in their own abilities. Equip them with the tools to navigate uncertainty and thrive.

Today’s challenges beckon us to become the leaders we are meant to be. I know you may feel uncertainty and doubt sometimes. We all do. But stay focused on growth. Your people and the world need your leadership now more than ever. You have so much wisdom to share. There are lives longing to be inspired by your vision. Believe in the good we can do together. Our finest hour is still ahead.