How to Lead Through Difficult Times and Make a Strong Comeback?

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Difficult Times

Covid-19 has disrupted the way the world operates. Businesses have been shut down. People are forced to practice social distancing and stay at home. The world has seen many recessions in the past and we might see many more in the future, but this recession could be the worst recession the world has ever seen. How can business leaders lead their businesses through this crisis and still come out on top when everything comes back to normal.

In this article, you will learn about how leaders should lead through tough times and help their business make a stronger comeback.

1. Be Clear

Not everyone is lucky to work under a great leader. You might not realize the value of a great leader when everything is under control, but this becomes even more apparent when you are in a crisis. That is where the clarity in communication and honesty comes into play.

Sharing his experience, Johnathan Jefferies, co-founder and director of Think and Grow said, “Clarity is key. We face each challenge with clear and honest communication, sharing what we know as soon as we know it. Our team is aware of what we are doing to solve the situation we’re confronted with, what they can do to help and how we will through this together.”

For them, clarity works both ways. This allows their staff to be as open as possible. Moreover, they can support their colleagues and friends. This way, you can enjoy a few moments of fun and humor, which will bring a smile on your team members’ faces.

2. Communicate at an Individual Level

When there is a crisis, everyone deals with a crisis in a different manner. Great business leaders understand that everyone is different and has unique trigger points that motivate them to push harder. That is why it is important to communicate at an individual level and organize one to one meetings. Reaching out to each individual and communicating with them can become a daunting task, especially if you have hundreds of employees. Still, you can use communication tools or communication features of task management software.

Carolyn Breeze, General Manager at GoCardless said, “We structure one-on-one meeting around five essential motivators – or the ‘five brain cravings’ – which include:

  • progress
  • meaning
  • autonomy
  • social inclusion
  • certainty

According to her, leaders can get a holistic view of performance drivers and tailor their management style to suit the needs of individual team members, creating robust workforces that not only survive but thrive in uncertainty by following this framework.

3.  Stay Calm and Prepare for the Worst

Leaders need to set the tone as people look up to them for inspiration. If they start to panic, their team members will do that same. You need to stay calm and allow space for vulnerability. Ben Thompson, co-founder of Employment Hero, a people management firm, advices leaders to “think decisions through, considering both the short and long-term implications, create contingency plans for various scenarios and lean on trusted peers and advisors for support before making decisions.

He further adds, “It’s important that you embrace an agile mindset, don’t allow yourself to be held back by fear; customers would rather see action than inaction at this time.” Lead with confidence and be 100% sure that you are doing the right thing. You should also be authentic and prepare for the worst, but don’t become pessimistic. Leaders need to be optimistic about the future to keep their teams motivated and engaged.

4.  Actions Speak Louder Than Words

As a leader, you need to act fast and decisively during turbulent times instead of spending more time on building a consensus and collaboration. Collaboration and developing a consensus might work when the situation is normal but not during difficult times. This might put your decision-making capabilities and leadership to the test. You might have team members who might be facing tough situations for the first time. You need to tell them that it is not the end of the world and we can get out of this crisis as well. Avoid making promises you cannot keep.

5.  Experiment and Innovate

Leaders should lower down their expectations, but that does not mean that you should stop experimenting and innovating in a crisis. According to Michelle Gallaher, CEO of Opal, a health data analytics company, “COVID-19 also poses an interesting opportunity for leaders to experiment within their business.”

According to her, “We have the chance to pilot new ideas and grow our products and services by trialing, adjusting and launching. Essentially, if resources permit it – now is the time to adopt an agile approach to innovation – and your leadership style by extension.

How do you lead your team in tough situations? Let us know in the comments section below.

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