Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher. In difficult situations, people look to their leaders to give them a clear picture of what is going on. Leaders set the tone for their organization. If you hoard information and panic, you will lose control of your organization. However, If you remain positive, optimistic, and confident, your teams will behave the same way. If you are focused, they will remain focused. In this episode, we will cover six things strong leaders do during difficult situations. 1. Communicate Uncertainty produces anxiety. People who are looking for clear communication. If you do not speak up, your silence will be interpreted as bad news. It is essential to communicate and reinforce a clear perspective on what is happening and what it means for the organization. Q: Are you communicating often even when you don’t have all the answers? Do you demonstrate the poise and composure to reassure everyone that the organization is in safe hands? 2. Exude Realistic Optimism Great leaders must honestly accept the gravity of challenging situations. They communicate this openly and honestly. When you are humble enough to admit you do not have all the answers, you will earn the credibility to also share an optimistic and authentic vision that is both reassuring and realistic. Q: Do you have the confidence to answer questions honestly even when you don’t have all the answers? Are you outwardly optimistic about the ability to navigate difficult times? 3. Play the Long and the Short Game Great leaders distribute their resources to meet the immediate needs of the organization while maintaining a focus on long-term strategic goals. In the face of uncertainty, weak leaders are guided primarily by concerns over how their decisions will be perceived. Strong leaders are guided by a clear view of the sacrifices required to preserve strategic direction. To lead well in uncertainty, you will need to not only be prepared to make hard choices to address short-term priorities but also demonstrate the courage to preserve the investments that are essential to the long-term health of the organization. Q: Are your leaders considering short term and long-term opportunities that turbulent times create and managing the risks? 4. Engage Early, with Purpose and Humility Even under great pressure, you will need to create a sense of togetherness. Have the humility to listen to a wide range of opinions - not just from the leadership team. Focus on asking questions rather than attempting to serve as the universal source of answers. Q: Are you emotionally aware enough to listen, as well as tell? Does your team view you as authentic? 5. Help Others Lead The best leaders step up during these times and help others lead. They do not retreat behind an understandable level of stress and information-overload. Leaders who enable and create other leaders are catalysts for widespread change. Q: Is the culture of your organization one that allows people to lead without authority? 6. Demonstrate Grit Grit is the mental toughness and unwavering focus that great leaders approach challenges with. They exude calm and optimism despite the storms! In serving as a role model of these qualities, the best leaders lift the resilience and tenacity of the entire organization. Q: Do you inspire confidence in yourself and your team? Application Activities
Make a list of your short term and long term priorities for your business, then rank them in importance. What are you doing to protect each of those priorities? Are there any of your long-term priorities being neglected? What can you do to shift some of your resources to protect that interest?
During times of crisis, people’s individual needs are even more important. Make sure that you are taking the time to invest into each of your employees personally during this time. Try to get a phone call or text to each of them within the next week or so to let them know that you see the work they are doing, that you appreciate them, and that you are there for them.
Talk to a trusted employee about how you have been communicating with the team. Ask if there is anything that people are confused about. If it is reasonable to do so, consider having a forum with your employees to discuss any concerns they have or allow them to ask questions ahead of time.
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MARCH 24, 2020