Leading in Troubled Times
Leadership is the essential key ingredient when it comes to determining the success or failure of a business, sports team, or just about anything that takes key decision making. You can take that statement and times it by a hundred when it comes to unprecedented times like these! The ability to strategize, pivot, keep your team engaged and keep them positive in times like this will be paramount to your success. Here are 5 ideas that can help you be a better leader.
Being a leader means you accept the fact that you are constantly on show and that every move you make will be judged. Your team will place a tick in either a good box or bad box for every step you take and word you do or don’t say. We constantly judge others whether we are aware of it or not and our leaders are not immune to this. Most of your success when it comes to leadership is about your ability to influence and rally your team around your vision. Everything that you say and do will be crucial when it comes to how much commitment you get from your team. The 5 points below will help you recruit the absolute highest levels of engagement needed to execute your game plan.
Communication – This is probably the most overused noun in a CEO’s toolbox when it comes to leadership. There are many forms of communication such as emails, messages, videos, texts, and others. In tough times those can all be used but it’s speaking with your people one-to-one which will be key. Communicate as much as you can in all forms as this is the time to over-communicate vs the latter. We have large scale tools such as Zoom, business Skype and others, but what will be your difference maker is speaking with as many team members as you can one-to-one. Check on them frequently by asking them how they are doing, coping, and feeling. People work for people, which means they don’t work for a company name. When times are tough we need more from our teams so it’s important we show them we care if we want their best efforts. Your time, genuine care, and concern are crucial when it comes to times like these. This one point alone will get you farther than almost anything else you do.
Now is not the time to be telling your team that you are worried about your own job is in jeopardy or that the business might not make it. On the other hand, you MUST always confront the brutal facts of your business. Great leaders can communicate the brutal facts in a way that their team understands the gravity of the situation but it doesn’t get them paralysed in fear where they lose hope. As the leader, your message needs to provide inspiration so your team knows there is light at the end of the tunnel. The cruel fact of where we are today means that there will be pain. That said I can guarantee there will be better odds of success for everyone involved if every team member is in a positive mind frame vs working from a position of fear. Now is also not the time to doubt your teams’ abilities or their skill sets. High performers are high performers but emotions can change, so if they do then support them and let them know you’ve got their backs. This alone will move them in the right direction.
Spend Your Time on the Right Solution
Guessing when it comes to business decisions is dangerous stuff. Making sound game-changing decisions takes devoting enough time around the right questions and what the potential problems will be down the road. Leaders can be quick to want to find solutions when they are not sure what the problems are. Spend 90% of your time focusing and becoming crystal clear that you know what those challenges could be vs what the solutions are. By the way, the solutions are easier if you are sure you know what challenge(s) you will face.
Break the Frame – One year ago today there were very few people who would have been able to predict something like this. It’s a new set of problems that requires a new set of answers. Finding the answers when no one knows what they are is tough work that’s for sure! We are quick to prescribe ideas because they have always worked before and we have them in our playbook. We tend to lock onto our own ideas and solutions which makes it hard to change our opinions. One thing I have learned over time is that most of the great ideas come from our teams. Get your team involved and I mean from the absolute bottom up. Breaking the frame means a different set of eyes seeing the challenges in order to fix them differently. We use our own cultures, experiences, opinions, beliefs, and current information when it comes to overcoming challenges that can be good and bad. This is why diverse teams that encourage their WHOLE team to get involved will be better than a team that uses the same framework problem after problem.
Leading in tough times is the ultimate measure of your skillset. Enjoy the challenge ahead and know that at the end of the day, if you can come out on top that you and your team will be better, stronger as a unit and ready to take advantage of the opportunities that lay ahead!
This article was originally posted here.