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How to Lead Teams Through the Roughest Times
Rough times require leaders to be more present, engaged, and available. Intelligent leaders understand the power of transparent communication during a crisis and ensure employees understand the challenges and opportunities crises may carry. Leadership coaching helps leaders develop the skills they need to lead teams through the roughest times.
Since the start of the global pandemic, the world has been stumbling from one crisis to another. COVID-19 disrupted global supply chains, sent people home, locked them up, and robbed organizations of raw materials, workforces, and sources of revenue. While it’s still with us, we’ve learned to ignore it lately as war broke out in Europe and the world ponders the possibility of another global conflict.
These times aren’t kind to businesses. Having barely escaped the clutches of the pandemic, companies must now deal with skyrocketing energy prices and the consequences of sanctions aimed at warring parties.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Crises truly test the mettle of leaders. It’s easy being a fair-weather captain, but navigating the ship through stormy, treacherous waters is a different proposition altogether.
Despite being stressful and taxing, crises are opportunities for leaders to rise to the challenges and prove the value of their stewardship. Times of crisis teach open-minded, intelligent leaders new skills.
How do great leaders steer their organizations through the roughest times?
Communicating Concisely and Frequently
Communication is the cornerstone of leadership and leadership coaching. During times of crisis, misunderstandings can happen, and rumors are quick to fill the voids a lack of transparent communication can create. To head off such problems, leaders must transmit transparent messages to employees, sharing as much information as possible.
The practical steps to clear, concise, transparent, and plentiful communication are as such:
- Prepare a consistent and shared message. As a leader, you should avoid improvised speeches, regardless of how inspiring you think they might be. Consistency is essential for crisis communication. Managers should share consistent information on every level.
- Be honest and transparent about the hardships your organization is facing. Don’t hide the gravity of the situation from your employees or your plans to address the challenges and move the organization forward. As stakeholders in the organization, your people deserve to know the truth.
- Act quickly. Rumors and panic thrive when employees don’t have access to information. Minimizing the time between first identifying a problem and telling it to your followers is in your (and your organization’s) best interest.
- Share post-crisis evaluations. Having borne the brunt of a crisis and survived it, you’re in the perfect position to derive lessons from it and turn it into a learning opportunity. Business coaching encourages leaders to see setbacks as stepping stones to success. By preparing a post-crisis evaluation, you allow everyone to tweak their responses and attitudes and handle future crises better.
Establishing an Inclusive, Participative Environment for Communication
Optimal communication is never unidirectional. Executive coaching predicates its existence on open, bidirectional, participative communication. When everyone has a voice, everyone develops some degree of psychological ownership and responsibility concerning the problems at hand.
Setting the Tone and Maintaining Visibility
In times of crisis, a leader must keep a positive attitude and lead by example in showing vulnerability, seeking help (if needed), and helping others. If followers sense their leaders are wavering and feel uncertain about the future, they may try to preempt the imminent catastrophe and leave.
Be visible and available.
Being visible and engaging is the intelligent leader’s way to underscore transparent communication and reinforce consistent messaging. Talking to employees directly keeps feedback channels open and allows leaders to engage through empathy.
Preserving Organizational Culture
You have concentrated efforts and resources on creating a coaching-focused company culture that makes everyone feel valued and safe to voice opinions. You can’t let a crisis tear that down. Whether you’re forced to go online or implement personnel changes, ensure your vision and organizational values survive the hard times.
In times of crisis, your team needs a leader that can provide progress and safety more than ever. Be that leader and seize the opportunity to make lasting differences.