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Leadership in Difficult Times – Five Key Actions to Lead Your Team During Uncertainty

Over the next twelve months, business models will change, companies will liquidate, jobs will be lost, and the list goes on. Yes, these all sound very negative, but this crisis will also create opportunities for innovation, culture improvement and identify new leaders.

A crisis is the best pressure test of anyone in a Leadership position. If you currently lead a team, be warned your status is even more vulnerable to criticism in this challenging time. Not everyone is competent to be a leader, and unfortunately, it takes a global pandemic before we find out. From my experience, the majority of leadership development programmes are typically not designed to pressure test the candidates prior to their appointment.

While companies navigate through the zone of disruption, a typical phase of any change; productivity, outputs, profits, engagement and sales will inevitably drop like something not experienced before. In this phase/zone, the psychology, dynamics and motivation are challenged, as your teams main personal focus is now survival and security. You will observe more fear and anxiety triggered by the unknown, so be cautious and sensitive with any interaction, whether in person or remotely.

Metaphorically, it’s time to demonstrate you can be the Captain of a big ship, that will sail through rough seas, on an entirely new course/destination, with distractions, noise and traffic that could lead to fatigue or burnout. 

To help you through these rough seas and to assist your teams with Clarity and Hope, here are Five things I believe, should become your operating model: 

  1. Know the Facts – it’s now time to be more accurate with objective data rather than jumping into assumptions. So slow down before making decisions, because if you are stressed, the cortisol in your brain is going to cloud judgement. 
  2. Start – Stop – Continue – during this zone of disruption, time and energy will be wasted on the wrong things – Sit down weekly or daily with yourself and your team and ask yourself what you need to Start – Stop and Continue doing.
  3. Leverage the Strengths of Your Teams – you do not need to be the expert in everything – utilise and complement each other’s strengths to achieve your OKRs 
  4. Listen More – slow down on advising, be curious longer, demonstrate empathy and compassion.
  5. Take it Easy – if you and your teams are now working from home for the first time, the tempo of work may be slow.  Don’t start monitoring whether your teams are online, because being online is not an indication of being productive. In essence, be easy on your yourself and your team, it is a difficult, uncertain time, and we don’t know what is around the corner. Keep your focus on weekly objectives and make everyone accountable for their part. 

Be Safe and Keep Inspiring!

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