There are no shortcuts through life’s grinding moments. I know you have experienced many. Maybe you have had, or are currently having, a tough time with a relationship – a spouse, child or parent can weigh heavily on you. They are often the most important thing to us and when things are going south, it’s difficult not to let that impact bleed into most areas or our lives. Maybe you are raising your grandchildren – that certainly wasn’t the plan! Maybe it’s your job, your home, your church, an unplanned move, a death, outsourcing, redundancies, demotions, getting suckered, scammed, or screwed. In spite of all this, you must keep leading through the pain.
If you find yourself in this situation today, you probably don’t want to hear the good news. It’s hard to see silver linings when the sky is so stormy and overcast. But it is an opportunity. It’s a chance to learn about yourself and your capability. Storms bring strength. They steel us and like a refining fire, these circumstances drive out the things that reduce our value and leaves us with the character that we wouldn’t have developed any other way. Could you be credible if you never dealt with difficulty?
Here’s what’s inescapable. In this difficulty, in this challenge, you are being watched. All eyes are on you. Will you inspire and lead or will you abdicate and wither?
So what does it take to lead effectively in these times of great difficulty and pain? Martin Haygood and Hodge Golson from the Management Psychology Group provide two keys to leadership success during these challenging periods.
This is the leader’s ability to set goals, organize efforts, direct action, provide corrective feedback and set the general focus of efforts. The critical challenge is keeping people focused on things that are under their control.
When you cast a vision for the future, you remind your team that there’s more to life than what we are experiencing at the moment. In a way, you are bringing them a sense of hope that there is promise in our future. You are reminding them that there is purpose, there is significance, to the current struggle.
The people management dimension recognizes the importance of communication, motivation, and encouragement. The ability to set the emotional tone of the workplace and inspire greater effort from others is the hallmark of a transformational leader.
How well do you communicate with your team? Do you make sure that they feel informed? Are you meeting with them regularly so they see your face and hear your voice? Do you ‘walk the floors” and make yourself available/approachable? Sometimes, your team just wants someone to listen to them, not “fix it” or provide answers.
Are you candid and honest? Are you willing to say “I don’t know” or “I’m not free to discuss that.” Don’t make promises you can’t keep! You have to be credible to help.
Remember, these are still people! Celebrate wins and team achievements. Don’t withhold your praise – it’s actually more important in this period to find things to celebrate and have fun – anything to relieve the stress and tension is going to be appreciated. Be sincere in your thanks when it’s offered.
Don’t overlook temporary periods becoming permanent. Asking your team members to go the extra mile for a period of time isn’t unreasonable; however, causing them to burnout is. It’s not fair. They need time to refresh and recharge.
You aren’t powerless and without control. Help your team to shift from the mindset of the passive victim to the active participant. Empower your team with your responses! Keep the focus on the positive outcomes that are to be had by the individual.
Instead of saying this…
Try saying this…
Yes, that’s tough – what are you
going to do about it?
It wasn’t your fault!
I wish it was different but it’s not –
what did you learn from it?
They did that to you?!
I understand you are angry –
so how will you avoid this in the future?
You are the role model. You set the tone. Your team will respond the way they see you respond. Are you focused and determined? They will be too. Just as panic and despair are infectious, so are energy and enthusiasm.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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Now, go lead like someone you would want to follow!