Leadership is tested during tough times. It is easy to lead during days and years of plenty. But few people can lead during difficult times.
Since February 2020, the world has been besieged by a deadly Coronavirus pandemic. The initial response was to curtail movements and enforce lockdown. But many people started dying in their homes from diseases like poverty, loneliness, financial stress, and general hopelessness.
The lockdown had to be lifted.
For many businesses, times are tough. Revenues continue to decline steeply, as customers churn or lack purchasing power. Costs of operations are increasing, as compliance costs raise. The pressures for leaders at any level are coming from all angles. But critical of all is the ever-deteriorating staff performance due to so much suffering around them. People say money does not motivate them, but when money is lost, nothing can move. The fact is we all need some form of oil to move. And money does just that. Oils life.
How do you stay calm during tough times? Empower the people around you with the vision and give them the power to lead.
- What is the end game? What is the ambition for doing this?
- Are the people on the table on the same page? Are we moving to the same destination using different routes or means? How do we align our effort and benefit from synergy?
- How do I separate the problems from the team or a specific person? What exactly is the major root cause of the problem or misunderstandings between the team?
- What is the role of each person on the journey? Do they understand their roles? How will they be rewarded for work well done?
You can only remain calm when you know the team is behind you. Once you lose team trust and support, you lose confidence as a leader and the cracks become visible. You start displaying rage. You visibly become shaken and scared. And graduate to an arrogant leader who points fingers and calls people all sorts of names. These are not good signs.
To stay calm, share the big picture with your inner circle. Have them own it and champion it. Let them know their respective roles. And establish mechanisms for on-going communications and collaborations. Be each other’s keeper. Let the team know that someone is watching over them not to punish them, but to give them a hand up in case they need some push.
A leader like that will always overcome difficult times. It is not easy. That is why we have a few good leaders.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, Mr. Strategy 2020. All rights reserved.