Resilient Leadership in Challenging Times.

In a challenging economy, great leaders and great teams shine through adversity and poor leaders are exposed as ineffective. In many situations, the fate of organizations could rest on the skill of the leader. The way decisions are made and the attitude of the organization is key to success in tough economic times. Every human organization goes through tough and challenging times. We need to expect tough times, but know that by exhibiting extraordinary leadership during those times, our companies can come out of them stronger than ever!

Everything we go through serves a purpose, and we can definitely learn from each experience. Economic difficulties need not mean that we lower our standards for leadership, if anything, we should raise our sights. Our attitudes and the demonstration of effective leadership is the foundation to thriving instead of just surviving in tough economic times. As we develop our leadership talents and gifts, we will be able to anticipate more problems and solutions, anticipate opportunities for success, and discover the unique qualities that are hidden inside of us.

Leading in tough times requires taking personal accountability, building trust and creating a motivational environment. To gain employees’ trust, leaders must do more than be dependable and match their actions to their words. When employees see that you care about them and aren’t just pursuing your own agenda, their confidence in you grows. We have to focus in on being the optimistic motivator and show our employees how the end result will be good. This will motivate our followers to continue on, braving the current storms, and on to their shared destiny.

Actions for Strong Leaders in Tough Times

  • Be honest with yourself – The balance between remaining true to yourself and being radically honest with yourself is perhaps the toughest and most fundamental challenge for leadership.
  • Be visible – People like to feel connected and engaged with what’s going on, so now is the time to engage more with employees, to listen to what they are saying.
  • Empower – Allow team members to utilize their skills and talents and mentor them with information and strategies. This results in new paradigms and greater synergy with our teams.
  • Collaborate – Build cross-disciplinary project teams. People from different departments or divisions can team with others creating new visions for success. This results in greater effectiveness since tasks can be swapped and combined.
  • Be Clear and tell it like it is – People hate to feel that they are being left in the dark, but also they are realistic about the fact that you won’t have all the answers, just be honest. It’s about both being very transparent about what’s going on, and presenting a vision of what the future will look like.
  • Seize the opportunities – Everyone is focusing on the negative issues, it’s too easy to ignore opportunities. Entrepreneurial spirits will focus on those opportunities.
  • Envision – Brainstorming and planning the future with team members creates trust and new ideas for action plans. This results in increased trust.

When things get tough, everybody’s temptation is to become acutely focused on the problem. But what separates a leader from a follower is that the leader doesn’t get caught up in the problem. The leader sees the big picture and keeps moving toward the vision. The further we can take our followers toward the vision, the further away from the problem they get. Great leaders always articulate and shares goals and stays focused on the vision for the future.

Believing in one’s self is a huge factor for success in this uncertain time. We are all complete, capable, whole, and resourceful, and we should live up to that image we hold of ourselves. Remember, we have everything we need to envision and attract abundance, so let’s be thankful for it! Perspective will give you the confidence to lead through the problems and what you will communicate to your followers is an informed confidence.

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved”Helen Keller

Visionary leaders will utilize the current challenges we face in our country as a way to reinvent themselves. Great leaders work harder to get through trying times, searching for more creative solutions and inspiring their teams to stay engaged. Tough economic conditions may mean that leaders need to reevaluate where we are going in light of changing conditions, but it does not mean we should abandon our focus on achieving those clearly defined goals and objectives

The basics of truly great leadership and management should be the same whether the economy is going well or is struggling. Yes, certain actions may need more immediate attention and focus as they become visible. Conversely, if you stick to the basics and continue to do the right things, you can flourish during tough times as well as good times.

True leaders are those who make a difference and influence others as a result of the qualities they possess. They are remembered and cherished by those they influence. Don’t be depressed about the tough times, get excited and view it as an opportunity to test your skills as a great leader! Take advantage and do what others are fearful of doing and you will come out ahead…

Jamie Wood, Avatel EVP

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