Commentary

Leadership In A Tough Time

Oh, the times they a-chang -- um, have changed into, well, we don't quite know yet. Leadership is especially important now, when we have to keep our businesses moving, as uncertain as the destination can be.

Below are some tips for leaders to navigate through these turbulent times and properly prepare to rebuild once this is all behind us. 

It’s OK to show signs of vulnerability. The idea of a stoic, solver-of-all-problems leader is obsolete — particularly during an unprecedented global crisis that affects every single person on this planet, in one way or another. Vulnerability helps people connect.

Be upfront. As leaders, we tend to protect our teams and keep a lot of difficult information to ourselves. There might be an opportunity to disclose certain timely information to our teams — even when hard to handle  — so that bigger, more difficult news does not come as a surprise.

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Any crisis promotes creativity. And in this case, fast and furiously. Maybe you have been thinking about a new idea that has lived in the backburner for a while. Now is the time to do those things you never had the time, the resources or the sense of urgency to get done.

Perfect is no longer the goal. That’s a good thing. Often, our drive to achieve perfection becomes a huge road block in the path of getting anything done. Perfection is not the goal; agility is. Use this opportunity to think and act fast, even if this requires some adjustments later.

Slowing down might just be the only way to propel. In a world that never stops, this forced break we are going through might be exactly what we need to recalculate and proceed in the right direction. Dust off those old documents you had put together and never brought to life, reevaluate your team’s roles and responsibilities, reconnect with old customers, think of how to engage with new ones, read a few books.

Practice and require empathy. In times of anxiety, desperation and sadness, there is a tremendous opportunity for us to be extra kind, understanding, considerate and generous. 

Put your own mask on first — symbolically, and, in this case, also literally if needed. As worried as we might be about our teams and the people around us, now more than ever, leaders need to put themselves first. This is never selfish, but quite the opposite. Mental and physical health are key to minimizing stress, which starts at the top and sets a great example for your team.

Remain optimistic. Even when some of the decisions you will need to make are daunting, and the future of your company might be blurry, know that you can bounce back -- and you will. No matter what happens today, focus on your goals while remaining flexible. You might need to rethink what you do or how you do it, but you can come out stronger than ever. This crisis might present a refreshing opportunity for you that you might not have anticipated before.

1 comment about "Leadership In A Tough Time".
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  1. PJ Lehrer from NYU, April 3, 2020 at 11:34 a.m.

    Listen to Guv Cuomo's daily briefing - stop watching Trump.  It's really that simple.
    http://pjlehrer.blogspot.com/2020/03/if-you-live-in-moment-you-dont.html

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