Leading When Times Are Tough
Every business goes through tough times. Sales are down, a key team member leaves, sales are up, the economy changes (constantly)… Whether you label it good or bad, change is stressful, change continual in business. So, what do you do as a leader to take your team through a tough time?
Sorry, I am a Sound of Music fan and the first line that comes to me in the leading through tough times is, “Let’s start at the very beginning, that is a very good place to start.” The beginning for a business leader is:
Be the Leader
Seems obvious, the best answers often are. Yet when times get tough it is easy to panic and lose your way. Most entrepreneurs are hard driving, focused individuals who want to make things happen. Great when starting a business, not so great when it comes to leading a team through challenges. To Be the Leader, you must out of your own way and take a fresh look at what is going on.
Here are 7 clear steps to take that will help you to stay focused on leading when times are tough
1. Be the Leader
o Do not abdicate your responsibilities. Let your team know you are there to help them find the needed answers
2. Move Quickly and Patiently
o Do not assume, ask questions, find out as much information as you can about the situation, without taking too much time. Speed is important, so is having a clear picture of the situation
3. Refocus on Your Plan
o What is your overall plan? Having one comes long before this situation shows up. Where are you going, how could this challenge getting in the way?
4. Support the Team
o Who does this impact and what do they need to solve the problem. DO NOT ASSUME that you know the answer to this talk to the team, and listen.
5. Be True to Your Values
o The best choice for your business will be in line with your company values. Allowing a decision that does not fit your values, changes those values. What you tolerate becomes the values in your business, like it or not.
6. Get an Outside Viewpoint
o Every leader should have a leader they Depending on the impact of the issue at hand, an outside point of view may be necessary. Talk with a trusted mentor, they may see something you are missing.
7. Put it in Perspective
o Being on top of the changes that need to be made is essential for the life of your business. When changes ‘happen’ consider how big an impact they will have on your overall direction of your business. This will help you to determine how much time and energy to put in to managing the solution.
The Everyday Leader, is a leader every day