The downturn in our industry has created a lot of stress in recent years. When you’re the leader of the team, there’s an added level of stress because others are looking to you in the face of uncertainty. Yet you may have no more certainty than they do.
Recently I spoke on the topic Managing Through Stressful times, drawing on a tough time during my career to extract these key points to effective leadership during times of uncertainty.
- Stay calm and carry on. Your team is looking for guidance and calm. Your personal stress must remain behind the scenes. There is research that shows that in times of chaos one calm person can have a calming effect on a crowd. As a leader, you become that one person.
- Be honest. You don’t have to tell your team everything. But do be honest with what you tell them.
- Be positive. Look for the optimism in your messages. It may only be, “We can get through this.”
- Be transparent. Communicate frequently and with whatever you can, respecting confidentiality and the business objective.
- Tell them why. If you know, tell them.
- Be available and be visible. This is not the time to hunker down in your office. Get out of your office. Have Q&A sessions, one on one or team meetings. Yes, even if you’re an introvert and it’s not comfortable.
- Be human, but not overly personal. Your team doesn’t want to see you as weak. You can be open and a bit vulnerable without being weak. This is a delicate balance and often depends on the leader, the audience and the situation. It’s one of the topics we cover in my upcoming coaching circle series “Handling Difficult Situations at Work”. For more info contact me through Pink Petro or Susan @WomenLeadingTogether.com.
Have you led a team through uncertainty? What did you learn?