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5 Tips How can you survive in these challenging times as a leader?

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  • July 4, 2018
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Without doubt the last few years have presented some extremely difficult times for leaders in organisations. After a number of years of buoyant times, leaders are having to face a very different outlook over the short and medium term.
In these challenging times it is easy to become incredibly despondent, lose focus and actually end up going backwards rather than going forward. So how can you survive in these challenging times as a leader?
Tip 1: Do Some Honest Reflection
It can be really difficult to sit down and do some honest reflection about what is and what is not working so well. After all, if it is our area of the business that is struggling, it is pretty normal to become defensive and start to justify. The chances are there are going to be things that are working well or performing well and you want to make sure that you are focusing on them rather than focusing solely on the struggles.
Tip 2: Don’t Procrastinate
You have probably heard people use the term ‘snowball to avalanche’. What they are referring to is the fact that a small problem can easily become a huge one if it is not addressed. When you procrastinate excessively it is really easy to miss out on addressing something while it still having only minimal impact.
Tip 3: Don’t Avoid The Big Calls
Leaders are paid a premium in terms of salary and benefits because they are expected to show leadership. Part of that is being willing to make the big calls or decisions even when they are unpopular. You can still make the big calls and decisions and still deal with the consequences sympathetically and with empathy.
Tip 4: Do Keep A Sense Of Perspective
When things are really tough it is sometimes difficult to keep things in perspective. I know that I fell into the trap from time to time as a leader. Try to look at things objectively and, while everything might not be going as well as you would like right now, remember that in many ways leading is really long term work in progress.
Tip 5: Don’t Talk In Terms Of It Being A Financial Problem
Yes, during tough times the accounts and cash flow are probably not looking too healthy. In these situations it is easy for some leaders to think that this is something for the Finance team to sort out. However, as the best leaders know, all that the financial information tells them is what is or what is not happening in the organisation in a common currency called money. Rather than talk about the financial problem, talk in terms of the organisational challenges being faced. The reason for this is that people are more likely to feel more capable and confident in finding ways of dealing with the organisational challenges rather than the financial issues, which they assume are highly specialised.
The Bottom Line: Think of challenging times as just part of the highs and lows of being in a leadership role rather than something that is a barrier to progress.