8 Ways to Build Strong Leadership in Turbulent Times

In an unpredictable economy what can you do to lead you team through murky waters and keep them motivated? Leadership is a contact sport. People want to know their leaders. Know your people and the departments they build. Roll your sleeves up and work on the front-lines. Make your supervisors do the same. Get out of the office as the ivory tower has a very different viewpoint than life meticulously cultivated to encourage them vs us.

Related: How to Motivate and Inspire Your Team

1. Be transparent

When a change or task arises, make sure you are communicative and clear. Deliver as much information as you can in person and advance an internal communications strategy. That is especially crucial if there are going to be any redundancies or budget cuts, or new additions in your headcount. This is a change program and change come with resistance. You should inspire your team to come to you with any questions or worries that they have got.

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 2. Inclusive or exclusive

Transparency is not enough in presenting the true story. One cannot be merely transparent about business challenges when one is duty bound to obtain feedback. Hold meetings and ask your team to be creative by bringing forth strategies that will establish an inclusive where everyone can feel comfortable their ideas are safe. Avoiding the likelihood of group-think normally pervasive in teams.

Related: Executive Coaching

3. Don’t forget to be appreciative

There are numerous ways to reward a team other than financial incentives.  Praise costs nothing. During times of upheaval genuine praise means volumes.

4. Stay poised

While there are demanding situations, we all have to work harder than usual. Whenever and wherever possible be sure your employees aren’t burning the candle at both ends too often. Give time for key personnel to relax in a way that matters to them. Give them the flexibility of arriving a bit later or leaving a little earlier. Buy lunch, have a masseuse come in, no matter what keep spirits up you don’t want them to burn out. The better you get to know your people the greater the likelihood of your growing your leadership during hard times.

Related: Improve Leadership Skills

5. Professional development

Look at ways in which you can help your staff to progress. Ask them in which areas they would like additional improvement. Clearly, one’s budget may be an issue for more formalized training however, there are more cost-conscious ideas such as online webinars, mentoring, having them teach a leadership class since most learning originate while instilling it to others. Encourage them to up-skill themselves, for instance via webinars or going to free events and seminars. Meaning to take personal initiative in their own development.

Related: Building a Highly Engaged Workforce

6. Self-leadership – don’t micromanage

Build their confidence. No one is born a leader. Teach them delegation and accountability. Allow them to take ownership of their duties and confidence in making decisions. This will lead to skill improvement and development in their positions adding value to the firm and employee.  

Related: Servant Leadership 

7. Whatever happens stay positive

Chances are the office surroundings will be traumatic in turbulent times. Maintain a smile on your face and continue to make informal communication typically made with your employees such as vacation or weekend plans, or how the kids soccer game went.  You are the leader accountable for the results of your team. This is not the time to take it out on them. They may not have the title, but they are just as committed as you are.

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8. Business not as usual to build effective leadership in tough times

Challenges are a natural course of life and business. Obstacles arise as a consequence to our actions or inactions. Delegate, but while meetings must be held the issues demand they be anything but normal. Don’t say, “Everything will be fine when things get back to normal.” As normal on a graph is the same as a flat line in a hospital. You can’t be placid with an “aw shucks” attitude. You must defend your positions and attack.

Bear in mind, that Lehman Brothers existed over 100 years because they took risk without options. Perhaps had they been a little bit more “Lehman Brothers and Sisters” things may have changed.

About Jim Woods

Jim Woods is President and Co-founder of Woods Kovalova Group located in Denver CO and Kiev, Ukraine. A world leader in consulting and training, enabling individuals and organizations to achieve results that require lasting changes in human behavior. Jim has served on numerous boards and is the author of two leadership books. He is a former fifth grade teacher and university professor with an impressive resume. Mr. Woods is beloved by audiences. Connect with him on TwitterFacebook, and Linkedin. Hire Jim to improve your performance. Click here.