How do you lead in challenging times?

There are many different types of leaders. Some leaders excel in situations where others don’t. You can have a history of being a “high achiever” and thought of as a high-level leader; but, there are some situations where these leaders feel like they’ve failed.
 
Have you heard of leaders being relieved of their job duties for poor performance, then they turnaround and are hired by another company to excel. Why was that leader not as effective in the first company? Did they change? Did they inherit different leadership skills? Did they lose their edge?
 
The answer is no; instead, the situation changed, and in return, the leader did not change their approach to match the new requirements.
With the concept of situational leadership in mind, it’s the right time to start asking yourself the following questions:
  • What leadership behaviors are most important to be highly effective in a fluid environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • What drives leadership success in times of crisis?
Here are some tips for rising to the occasion given these uncertain times.
 
Connect with people: Leaders in companies must connect with their people. Employees right now (at all levels) are uneasy. They are worried about their job, families, and finances. They need assurance that the leaders they work for care about their situation. People want open and honest communication; the last thing they want is an unexpected surprise.
 
Instill confidence: In the times we are in, employees expect their leaders to be poised, calm, credible, and collected. Leaders should exhibit confidence and show that they are in control of the situation. People look at the top leaders/management in their company to be experts in their business and demonstrate the ability to listen and share information with a sense of calm and clarity. Influential leaders can make decisions effectively and resolve conflicts as they come to light.
 
Effective thinking: Leaders should have a capacity for insightful and sharp thinking throughout all business environments, and even more so during times of uncertainty. There is so much information to take in; people expect their leaders to absorb the information and pivot during a situation rapidly. People want to be shown the way, and they expect leadership to digest the changing times, adapt and lead.
 
Effective leadership has always been important but never have the stakes felt so high. Leaders must evolve throughout this crisis, utilizing the right leadership behaviors and remaining true to themselves, and leading as it comes naturally to them. The best leaders do not have one recipe for leadership; they evolve their approach to fit the situation. Emotional intelligence and insight to realize how to adjust their leadership approach is imperative. During times like we are in with this pandemic, people need their management teams to lead with compassion, clarity and communicate the pathway. 
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Your Leadership Advice

Roberta Bemiller
Director Leadership Development
Williamsville, NY