Leaders play a crucial role in how people respond in times of challenge and adversity. They can help their people manage difficult emotions, stay focused on what is important, and keep a positive outlook.
In times of hardship, it is imperative for leaders to provide support, clarity, and hope. People look to their leaders for direction and example during challenging times, so leaders must rise to this.
Every leader wants to see their team thrive and succeed, but sometimes it's hard to know how to support them when times get tough. In times of stress or challenge, people need their leader to be present and provide guidance, reassurance, and resources.
In the last few years, we have publicly witnessed how leaders worldwide, such as Jacinda Ardern and Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have led their countries through turbulent times and demonstrated world-class leadership skills.
But how can leaders lead their people through challenging times? And what are the best things they can do?
Here are five things that leaders can do in challenging times.
Cultivate a Sense of Community
In times of crisis, strong community ties are crucial for leaders seeking to maintain order and stability. Leaders need to be able to cultivate a sense of community to provide support to their people. When people feel connected to each other and a larger purpose, they are more likely to stick together during hard times.
Leaders can create a sense of community in several ways. They can foster a spirit of openness and communication, encourage people to share their ideas, and celebrate successes together.
Leaders who can create a sense of community in challenging times are more likely to maintain order and prevent chaos successfully.
In times of adversity, resilience is one of the most important qualities a leader can exhibit. Resilience allows individuals and organisations to bounce back from setbacks and continue on their path to success.
Employees look to their leaders for cues on how to react to difficult situations. If the leader reacts with anger, frustration, or helplessness, the employees are likely to do the same. However, if the leader reacts with resilience, employees will be more likely to follow suit.
Leaders who model resilience in the workplace provide a valuable service to their employees. They show that it is possible to face complex challenges and still maintain a positive attitude. They also send the message that it is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them and keep moving forward.
There are several techniques that leaders can use to model resilience in the workplace. One is to maintain a positive attitude. Leaders can also help employees identify their strengths and use them as coping mechanisms.
Be Authentic and Transparent
In challenging times, leaders need to be authentic and transparent to earn the trust of their employees. When people are uncertain about the future, they look to their leaders for guidance and stability. If leaders are not authentic and transparent, it will be difficult for them to earn the trust of their followers.
In times of crisis, it is essential for leaders to be honest with their employees about what is happening and what the plan is. They should also be willing to answer questions and take feedback on board.
When leaders are authentic and transparent, employees feel like they are in a partnership with the leader, and they are more likely to support them during difficult times. Leaders who are not authentic and transparent often lose trust and their top-performing people.
In addition to the above, leaders can listen to how people are feeling during times of challenge and adversity.
When things are tough, employees need a leader who will listen to them, understand them, and help them find a way through the problem. Leaders who do this build trust and create a sense of loyalty in their employees. They also show that they care about their employees and their well-being.
Listening also allows leaders to get feedback and ideas from their team. People often have great ideas during difficult times, and leaders need to pay attention and take advantage of this valuable resource. Finally, listening helps build trust between leaders and their people.
Revaluate Priorities and Adjust Them As Needed
The world is always changing and evolving, which, in turn, causes many things to constantly be in a state of flux. This is never more apparent than when it feels like everything is up in the air during challenging times. It is essential that we take a step back, reassess priorities, and adjust them as needed.
The current global pandemic, for example, has forced many of us to adjust our priorities in the workplace. Whilst our usual tasks and goals may still be necessary; we now need to place a higher priority on tasks that are essential to keeping businesses running.
Some of the most important priorities during this time include:
communication with team members
task delegation and coordination
ensuring safety and hygiene precautions are being followed
At The Leadership Coaches, we hope that the five of the best things leaders can do in challenging times noted above help you. Although challenging times can be overcome internally, organisations often opt to work with an external leadership coach.
Wherever you and your colleagues are in times of challenge, you might find it beneficial to consider a leadership coach for you and your leaders. Alternatively, you may want to consider team coaching to create a cohesive plan that supports the team through times of change.
To learn more about the benefits of working with an external leadership coach, visit our previous blog here, or contact us today.