By: Amrit Morsara
In times of uncertainty, whether it is expected or unexpected, people look to their leaders to lead. In the world of business, this is usually when leaders tend to regress and avoid being accountable to their teams.
Here are the top eights things a leader needs to do to successfully lead their teams through turmoil:
- Be active and visible. Teams need to see their Business Leaders are supportive of the organization’s strategic direction. This serves as a constant when the organizational environment is in a state of flux. Without a visible leader, there is no consistent element to help people adjust through the transition.
- Communicate with your team, it’s never enough. Effective leaders ensure they communicate with their teams in a relevant and effective manner that allows employees to be “in the know” of what is occurring within the organization. These leaders communicate often and try to reach as many people that are directly and indirectly affected by the turmoil. The most effective communication method is to have two way dialogues as found in group meetings and presentations, and one-on-one coaching sessions and discussions.
- Deal with resistance upfront. The easiest thing to do is ignore the resistance and hope it goes away by itself. To be an effective leader, you will need to address resistance directly with the source. By attempting to understand why someone is resistant you can address the root cause of the issue instead of the symptoms. Often the root cause of employee resistance is their lack of awareness of why the change is being made. This further supports the need for more communication as highlighted above.
- Tell the truth. It is important to communicate to teams about issues, mistakes and progress regarding the situation. People appreciate honesty and it helps build a foundation of trust within your team. The more confident people are with your directness the more willingly they will be to trust you and the message you are communicating.
- Involve your team. Often it may seem like the leader has to be a lone wolf, but remember your team may have suggestions. When you involve your team to navigate through the challenges the business is facing it allows them to become accountable. This also allows leaders to identify what is important for their teams and put their needs first.
- Make a plan. The organization should be widely aware of how it will transition from its current state to the future state. This requires the leader to create a strategy with specific timelines that outline the steps and corresponding activity owners. The leader cannot assume that the organization will just progress through the turmoil without a plan.
- Get in the trenches. Your team must not only know, but feel that you are with them in this time of change. This will help give your team the perspective of change being implemented with them, not to them. It also allows you to see the struggle and progress of your team while you prepare them for potential obstacles.
- Be decisive. When your principles or decisions are questioned, many individuals avoid making decisions altogether. As a leader. you need to trust yourself and be decisive. The lack of decision making often becomes debilitating for an organization’s progress. Note, that this is not to say that valid objections are discounted. Decisions need to be made with stakeholders in mind and can be altered if they do not suite the needs of the organization or its people.
Show your team that you are a leader that understands them and can successfully navigate them through uncertain environments with a strategic plan. Your team will learn to trust you and this will become a key success factor to reducing customer disruptions, increasing productivity and achieving business objectives while your organization continues to grow and implement changes.
Have you ever had to lead a team during uncertain times? Tell us what strategies you used and what helped you be successful.