7 Signs You're a Strong Leader During Tough Times
As I watch the unfolding drama of recent events, I am reminded of the turmoil, fear, and stress that comes from uncertainty and the damage that it can cause on morale and productivity.
Here are seven tips to help bring order to chaos.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Don’t try to fool people; they can spot a lie a mile away, and it undermines your credibility. Instead:
Tell People What You Know
In hard times people need information—without information, it just increases anxiety and stress, neither of which is of benefit to them or you.
Tell Them What You Don’t Know
Be honest. If you don’t know something, tell them, otherwise people will think you are withholding information. Or worse still, they may hold back something they know that you don’t.
Tell Them When You Will Know
For those things that you don’t know, provide a timeline for when you think you will. Knowing when the chaos will end can reduce the level of associated stress levels.
2. Explain Your Plan
As a leader, it’s expected that you will come up with a plan.
Tell people what your plan is and explain why you are making those decisions. If they are logical, you will get buy-in, if not, you will only get questions.
Transparency breeds trust, and in stressful times, trust is a great commodity to have.
3. Ask for Input
As leaders, we are not expected to have all the answers or all the ideas, but we are expected to identify the best plan, based on all of the information available.
Without asking for input, we can potentially miss out on vital information, or even a potentially better or simpler solution.
It also gives others the opportunity to be involved, which can reduce the sense of powerlessness which can come with uncertainty.
4. Be Flexible and Adaptive
It’s possible that new information will arrive that will challenge our plan, or present a better solution. We need to keep an open mind and not just stick to the first plan as a way of increasing certainty.
We need to be flexible and able to adopt better solutions as they arise. Our goal should be to keep moving forward and at the best pace possible.
5. Be Positive
Confidence in the front-runner is crucial during times of doubt.
Our teams may not know what the solution is, but they need to be certain that they have someone who will both define the way forward and achieve it. As leaders we need to project confidence to help build that trust.
I always remember the Robert Louis Stephenson quote, “Keep your fears to yourself but share your courage with others,” as I think this is great advice.
6. Create Small Wins
Identify small wins that the team can achieve quickly and easily.
These quick wins need to be meaningful and celebrated, as that will help to boost confidence, increase morale, and create momentum.
7. Be Visible and Stay Engaged
The leader is the rock to which people cling. He or she gives them hope and confidence, but this can be diminished very quickly if he or she is absent for lengthy periods.
We need to be visible, positive, and engaged to keep morale and motivation moving in the right direction.
Leading in difficult times can be tough, but we need to remember it can be even worse for our teams, and they are looking for us to guide them and lead them to success.
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