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Leading with Safe Uncertainty – Our own ‘oxygen mask’

If we are not in good shape ourselves, how do we expect to give our best to others?

Research indicates that the building blocks of resilience, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-concept are rooted, respectively in – the somatic nervous system, the autonomic nervous system and the central nervous system. We need to consider our own needs – our own ‘oxygen mask’ so that we can best support our colleagues and teams. The key components for our well-being seem to be:

Having a Sense of Purpose

Our ability to see meaning in our work is one of the first things to suffer in adverse times. The feeling of contributing something worthwhile and connecting with others through a sense of purpose helps buffer us against ambiguity and conflicting priorities.

Developing Self-Awareness

Our sense of self plays out at both a physical and an emotional level. Checking in with ourselves to notice tension, discomfort and stress, plus the willingness and ability to attend to these keeps us well. Also, we have an inbuilt moral compass, our ‘True North’ and when these values and beliefs are compromised, we fail to thrive.

Having Hope

Learned optimism is a concept from Positive Psychology’s founding father, Martin Seligman, which argues that we can cultivate a positive perspective. His current work on learned optimism shows just how powerful a positive mindset can be – we can choose how we view our current situation; with the ability to reframe circumstance comes choice and options on how to proceed.

Feeling Connected

The structure of dependence – independence – interdependence illustrates our path to connectedness. We are social beings and whilst we have a wide-ranging need and preference for the company of others, we cannot survive in isolation. Relationships are key to our ability to decompress, obtain guidance, support and share our successes and challenges.


Andrew is an Aziz Executive Coach and Ethical Leadership Specialist. Andrew is an expert in ethical leadership with a particular focus on public facing, high risk, high scrutiny environments. He blends the latest thinking in personal and organisational development with the pragmatism of an extensive commercial career.

About Aziz Corporate

Aziz was founded over 40 years ago by Khalid Aziz, a media pioneer of his day who at 21 became the youngest ever appointed BBC producer.

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