Leadership Competencies Needed in Tough Times
There is a saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!” While I don’t necessarily believe this completely, it does help you think about your attitude during any type of difficulty you are facing. This includes tough economic times for the business itself, challenging situations for you professionally, and even what is going on in your life personally that impacts you and how you show up at work. Understanding what leadership competencies are needed to ensure you stay ahead and buoyant is the first step.
When you are faced with tough times you can’t simply hunker down and hope it gets better. You also can’t let your emotions get in the way of making good decisions. Others are looking to you for their survival, growth, and direction so you have to demonstrate that you are in control of yourself, even if you feel out of control with the situation.
What are the leadership competencies needed?
- Manage your emotions — I already mentioned this and it’s an important point to focus on. If you are angry, frustrated, feeling lost, or in a place of resignation it comes across to others no matter how hard you try and hide it or pretend. Additionally, the actions we take through negative emotions are different than the actions we take through positive emotions (excitement, possibility) and, thus, the outcomes will be different.
- Be authentic and communicative — When there are challenges financially and it’s obvious, don’t try and hide it; share what’s going on. You don’t have to give every detail, but pretending doesn’t make it better. Letting others know your plans, what’s happened and why (if appropriate), and what they can expect keeps them connected and reduces anxiety.
- Create a plan of action — It’s important to create a plan of action not just so you can share it with others where appropriate, but the act of planning and seeing options and making choices has a calming effect on most of us. The plan can change as you see progress or determine that there are circumstances that require it to change, but creating a plan of action is a leadership competency to develop.
- Remember it’s not a sprint — Whatever the situation you are facing likely didn’t happen suddenly, it was a series of little things you overlooked or ignored completely or compounded to create the current difficulty. Turning it around won’t happen overnight either.
Besides the competencies listed above, what else can you do to manage through the difficulty?
- Be a path breaker. Following the crowd will not help you at this time. Many business leaders panic and go into hibernation mode. You should focus on innovation and taking calculated risks. Innovative thinking does not mean spending more, but spending wisely.
- Retain and tempt the best brains / hands in the industry. Recessions may be terrible for most; but not for you. Challenging times do not mean you have to do it alone. Great leaders see opportunity in every difficulty. Here, you can seize the opportunity to retain the best talent and draw others into your company. And, ask your team and people in the industry for help and guidance. Two heads are better than one and others often see things you can’t.
- Connect with and reassure your customers. Your customers might be confused and worried if they get wind of difficulty. Let them know that you are as strong as ever and that you are counting on them as they count on you. Do not stop communicating with your customer through any and all possible means you have. Strong leaders know their priorities — and connection with your customers should be at the top of your priority list.
- Develop a unique approach. This may not be the right time for launching new products or services, but this is the best time for developing unique and innovative approaches in delivery and promotion of your products / services. One leadership competency is a high and innate ability to adapt. Just like evolution helps survival of life forms, adaptation helps businesses survive and even grow in touch economic conditions.
- Make coalitions / build strategic partnerships. It is true that there is strength in numbers. Know when to build your strength with new partnerships or coalitions. Seek out businesses that complement yours and work out arrangements that will ensure growth for both of you.
Being a great leader is never easy. Being a great leader in difficult and challenging times requires leadership competencies you might not have or aren’t using often. Focus on today and tomorrow instead of yesterday and the past; you can’t change it, so take whatever lessons are available to you and apply them to your next steps and actions. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things happen to companies. Your response to difficult situations will separate you from others and has a significant bearing on the future.
Being a leader can be challenging, even with the status quo. But that never happens, does it? Our e-book, Just Follow Our Tracks to Being a Great Leader: Leadership and Business, gives you ideas on how to navigate through change. Grab a copy today.
© 2017 Incedo Group, LLC