What to Do When You Can't Face Your Team

Every leader has experienced this at some stage during their professional life.

You wake up, take one look in the mirror, and realise that you simply can’t face going into the office. The thought of standing in front of the team and addressing them on a particular issue, challenge, or announcement made by your superiors is overwhelming.

What happens next is crucial. You either give up and move on, or face that fear head-on.

Clearly, the latter is the way to go if you want to grow as a leader and dig yourself out of this rut. Here’s how you can do just that.

Take time off to remind yourself why you’re in this

Your reason for not being able to face your team might be a very simple one -- burnout.

Every piece of productivity advice you’ll find on the internet will at some stage mention the importance of taking a holiday, but as a leader, it’s all too easy to skip that vital time due to a bulging diary and seemingly endless to-do list.

Once you reach burnout, the idea of heading into the office will feel painful every time you leave your home; but if you can take time off to rest, recuperate, and remind yourself why you’re doing this, chances are you’ll return refreshed and ready for action.

Try meditation

Meditation might not be something you’ve ever tried. Equally, it might be one of those practices whose merit you’ve never quite grasped.

Why not give it a try? Mindfulness is something that can benefit all of us, and sparing just 3 minutes at the start of every day to remove yourself from your concerns, worries, and anxieties could make the world of difference.

Thankfully, there are plenty of apps available for smartphones to make the process of meditation approachable for novices, and because it only requires your time and a quiet space, there’s really no excuse not to give it a try.

Forget about ‘the ideal’

The fear you have about facing your team might be centred on some form of ideal scenario or fantasy you have about how things should be.

Let go of the ideal; putting that much expectation on yourself as a leader will only leave you chasing something that doesn’t exist.

Every member of your team has flaws, and so do you. Embrace them -- don’t fear whatever it is that you think is the perfect scenario, because it simply doesn’t exist.

Speak to your team members individually

If you fear putting yourself in front of the team as a whole, try a different approach by first speaking to each member individually.

This will enable you to discover everyone’s pain points and gather intelligence on whatever issue it is that is sitting at the route of your fear. Once you have the whole picture and have broken the ice on a one-to-one basis, you may feel more confident to address the entire team.

This is a great way to do your homework and provide context for whatever it is that’s making you fearful of facing the team.

Wrapping up

Just one of the strategies above may work for you, or you might find that it takes a combination to remove your fear.

Whatever you do, just remember that you haven’t failed. Leadership is tough, and we all have to go through these difficult periods if we’re to grow and thrive.