Opportunity sometimes appears to you in the guise of seemingly insurmountable problems. But someone must solve them. Those leaders who persevere despite the obstacles emerge as icons, having inspired others by their example in times of crisis. Since the pandemic started I have been busier than ever coaching leaders who want to grab their once-in-a-lifetime chance to grow faster, compete harder, and prove their worth. Here are three strategies I’m sharing with my private executive coaching clients. These will help you maintain a positive mindset to lead your teams across this epic battleground and emerge stronger.
1) Your Leadership Outlook is Everything
When uncertainty reigns and the forecast is filled with doom and gloom, we all seek guidance, insight, wisdom, and reassurance. Everyone around you desperately needs you to be their leader and exhibit an optimistic mindset and attitude. We know from history that many companies have emerged stronger after turning the corner during bad times. Take encouraging lessons from history. Share success stories. Your attitude can spread hope in times of crisis. People pick up on your positive energy. It’s more contagious than a virus, and will inspire your whole team.
2) Over-Communicate During Any Crisis
Throughout my tenure as a Fortune 100 senior executive for Federated Department Stores, I endured eight mergers and acquisitions. That tumultuous experience taught me that you cannot communicate too much in times of crisis. Knowledge is power, and leaders have to empower their teams with clear, consistent, constant information on the ongoing situation. Keep them ahead of the knowledge curve, and use surgically-precise language and phrasing. For example, don’t promise no one will lose their job, because you have no way of knowing that. Retracting such statements later makes you seem naïve or untrustworthy. Nurses don’t promise they can keep patients from all harm. But they do promise to give them unyielding support, hardworking attention, and factual information. Business leaders can do the same.People pick up on your positive energy. It’s more contagious than a virus, and will inspire your whole team. Click To Tweet
3) Embrace a New Vision for the Future
Listen to everyone on your team, and address their concerns with empathy and encouragement. Observe the changing landscape, staying alert for doors of opportunity. Maybe this is the ideal time to try out a bold new idea. Embrace a longer-term outlook rather than falling into the trap of shortsighted tunnel vision. Maybe you’ve realized that working virtually offers you and your teams greater agility, better work/life balance, or improved ways to collaborate across time zones. Solicit ideas from everyone. You never know which one might strike gold. There may be innovative ways to pivot your business to fulfill the emerging needs of clients and deliver unique solutions.
Today is the chance of a lifetime to uplift and motivate teams in their time of greatest need. It’s your time to create your career legacy as you strengthen your organization and cultivate your character as a role model, change agent, and inspiration to others. The world of business needs leaders like you, and now’s your opportunity.
Sarah’s Acceleration Insights:
Ask yourself these 3 pointed questions to determine where your leadership has the most opportunity for rapid, sustainable, transformational growth.
- What scares you most about leading during a crisis? For some it’s addressing the media. Others fear that they may fail so they don’t take calculated risks. Some have a deep-seeded fear of real success.
- What do you want in a crisis leader? Analyze your role models. That helps you figure out what true leadership looks like to you. Then you can focus on nurturing those traits within yourself.
- Who do you want to be upon emerging from the current crisis? Knowing what you want will help you define the path to get there. The journey of 1,000 steps starts with the first one. Decide what yours will be and move forward while the competition stagnates.
There is no better time to invest in your professional development than when you are in crisis mode. But do not procrastinate. Others are taking full advantage and can surpass you if you aren’t focused.