How to lead a business in challenging times

How to lead a business in challenging times

It’s said that a leader’s true colours are revealed when they lead in difficult times. In today’s climate of increased competition, fluctuating market demand and huge internal and external pressures, maintaining focus can be incredibly challenging. Moreover, it can be incredibly confronting to lead a group of people through uncertainty, fear and reach business goals when you’re feeling uncertain yourself.

So how do you best lead a business during challenging times?

The first thing is to maintain composure. In uncertain times, staff will observe the behaviour of their leaders as a gauge of how they should behave. If their leaders are behaving erratically or are not confident in their approach, similarly the team will model their behaviours. According to Glenn Lopis, author of the article ‘7 ways leaders maintain their composure in difficult times’, the key word is composure. This is a mix of attitude, body language and overall presence. If a leader’s attitude is negative, it will have an instant impact on the attitude of the team. All too often, leaders lack the emotional resilience needed to adequately lead a team.

So how do you maintain leadership composure during the most pressure-packed times in your career?

There are a range of strategies to practise to help you maintain leadership composure, says Lopis.

Don’t let your emotions get in the way

Ever feel like you wear your heart on your sleeve, you are so passionate about a topic? This passion could hinder your objectivity, says Lopis. Strong leaders can still show their emotions without letting them distract from the topic at hand.

Don’t take things personally

Remaining calm regardless of the direction that a decision takes is part of modelling leadership ability. Being a resilient leader is about leading regardless of your connection to a decision – ‘it’s not about you.’

Stay positive

While you may feel negative from time to time regarding events or decisions, maintaining a positive mental framework is a good first step towards modelling leadership composure in the workplace. Additionally, how are staff meant to feel positive when their Manager is displaying negative behaviours?

Be brave

What’s the worst that can happen? If this is your mantra, you’re more likely to take advantage of opportunities or risks that can pay off.

So what is emotional resilience and how do we practise it?

Brad Waters, in his article: ’10 traits of emotionally resilient people’ writes that emotionally resilient people are not defined by adversity. They understand that challenging times are temporary and they have an inbuilt belief system that they are capable and confident, irrespective of the situation.

Emotionally resilience is key to effective leadership

Emotionally resilience is key to effective leadership

Waters also specifies 10 habits that emotionally resilient people follow:

  • They understand the difference between who they are at their core and the cause of their temporary suffering
  • They surround themselves with other resilient people
  • They practise emotional flexibility and self-awareness
  • They accept that stress and pain are a part of life that ebbs and flows
  • They seek out solitude and aren’t privy to the hundreds of distractions of modern day life
  • They accept that they don’t have all the answers
  • They have a strong habit of self-care
  • They’re not afraid to ask for help from their team
  • They’re able to ‘think outside the box’
  • They get out of their head and get their thoughts onto paper

If your business requires support coaching its leaders on leading during challenging times, speak to our HR Consulting division at Flexi Personnel.