Leading Through Tough Times
Leadership is challenging even in the best of times. When markets sour and the economy finds itself in a tailspin, leaders often are stretched and tested. Staying focused on long-term strategies can be a challenge when so many fires beg to be put out.
We will emerge from these tough times, and while we may struggle to maintain our own optimism and that of those we work with, I offer the following four tips for helping you lead through these tough times.
Find Time for Personal Reflection Every Day
Assert personal control over your calendar by dedicating time each day for yourself. I accomplish this through my daily exercise, my 30-45 minutes of reading each day and my morning meditation. During each of these times, I find that my creativity surges and that new perspectives become more accessible to me.
Consider “calendarizing” those activities that provide you with the best opportunities to step back and reflect. You will find that the time spent in these activities will increase your productivity and bring you greater clarity.
Catch People Doing Things Right
Those we lead need our encouragement now more than ever. Take time to acknowledge the contributions of your team and your colleagues. While we are much more practiced at catching people doing things wrong, with a little attention we can increase our sensitivity to the good all around us.
Look to provide praise more liberally. This will help allay some of the fears people feel given all of the negative news coming at them. Commit to providing positive feedback to at least five people each day and watch the engagement of your team go up, way up.
Lock in Your Plan for the Next 90 Days
Too often, our plans extend too far into the future. This increases the likelihood that we will become disillusioned and give up when the perceived futility of achieving our goals becomes stronger than the possibility of accomplishment we felt at the outset. Focus instead on what you will accomplish in the next 90 days.
Quarterly plans can result in real value creation and provide just the right amount of time to implement or modify our goals. Keep your quarterly goals in sight by writing them down and by carrying them around with you wherever you go.
Maintain Your Positive Focus
Be a positive role model for those around you. Our people are always watching us, and during trying times, our attitudes and our perspectives have more influence than we might think. As leaders, we have the ability to reverse the downward spiral that seems to go unchecked all around us.
By proactively demonstrating a more optimistic lens, we can help design a way out of the tough times we are in, and in the process create hope and possibility for those that count on us every day.