During uncertain times, the world looks at their leaders closely. This proves itself to be just as true in business, no matter the size of the organization. Today, more than ever, effective leaders have a chance to show what they are made of and gain the loyalty and trust of their teams. It does not matter if you are an owner, a regional manager, or oversee a team of two — your voice and guidance need to be front and center. There are many ways to do so, but whatever approach you choose, certain pieces are necessary.
4 Ways to Remain an Effective Leader During Difficult Times
- Be Honest: Difficult conversations are being had aplenty these days, but bringing honesty and compassion to the table is paramount. To most of us, this does not come naturally, but specific approaches and preparation can help make even the hardest conversation go better than expected. Everyone has experienced the agony of waiting for a test result, and although there is nothing that can change the outcome, it can consume your thoughts. It is at this point where the effective leader shines. They do so by keeping their team “in the know” and coming to the table with transparent information. Of course, there will be confidential information you cannot share, but otherwise, honesty does tend to be the best policy. Currently, most people have questions about where things are headed for them on a professional level, and sometimes the only answer available is “I don’t know.” And let’s be honest, it is better than silence — so if you don’t know yet, it is okay to say so.
- Be Vulnerable: “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.” – Brene Brown How often do you show weakness to a stoic, overly professional, and put-together supervisor? I know I don’t! Portraying strength and resilience is essential, but talking about your current struggles opens the door to communication. Those around you will empathize and share their own hardships, leading to perhaps a few tears, some laughter, or just a deeper understanding of one another. This vulnerability leads to more meaningful interactions while giving you additional knowledge you need to effectively manage each person as the individual they are, no matter the circumstance.
- Be Present: Checking in with your team more often than usual shows them that you care and creates a culture of service, but so does the type of questions you ask. You will find out more by asking more specific questions such as “How are your kids liking online school?” instead of “Is your family doing well?” Furthermore, this will create a better bond between you and each team member, since you are participating in quality, compassionate conversation. We finally have a little more time to ask real questions and truly listen to the answer, which is a silver lining of the current landscape.
- Be Positive: With all of the negativity surrounding us, a positive light is appreciated now more than ever. Difficult situations do not remain the same forever — they dissipate or morph into something new, and in any business, at any time, we look toward the future. Now is a great time to examine the long-term goals of your organization, your team, and even your personal ones. Encourage your team to use this time to reflect and come up with plans to best shape their future. Learning a new skill, brushing up on an old one, calling a former mentor — all of these have value for the next step in your team’s path.
In life and business, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, but as someone others take their cues from, find your own voice, hear and be heard, truly connect with those around you, and watch your team come together stronger and more focused than ever.
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