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Leading strong through difficult times.

Leading through hard times

Leading strong through difficult times there are some diffenite good practices that I have found to help. Following these leadership practices will ensure you can reduce stress, engage your teams, and still maintain productivity as you lead strong through your difficult times and seasons.

1. Focus on communication

Your team needs you to be the voice of calm and reason. They rely on you to take action and set the tone. Use every opportunity to reinforce your organization’s mission and values, explaining carefully how they relate to the current state of affairs. If you are calm, confident, and have a plan, it will reassure them that everything will be OK.
Heres some ideas as to how to go about Focusing on Communication

– Increase communications during times of change.

During times of change and uncertainty, there’s often a natural inclination for leaders to avoid communicating with their teams. Resist that urge and instead increase communications during times of change and watch how this will start you on the path of leading strong through difficult times of change.

– Listen more than you talk.

Acknowledge the difference between listening and just waiting to talk. Make sure you give the impression that you are really listening and not just thinking about your response or your perspective. Your ability to actively listen not only makes others feel heard and respected, it also facilitates enhanced decision making. Don’t just listen to “check the box”. Instead, be eager to learn and open to even possibly changing your mind on an issue when you get new information. Your focus isn’t about winning a debate but instead doing what’s best for the organization.

– Stay connected to the lowest levels of the organization.

Everyone has played that game of “operator” as a child where a group sits in a circle and whispers a simple statement person to person until it makes its way to the last person. Invariably, the content of the final message is drastically different from the original message. The same phenomenon poses major challenges with workplace communications. As messages are shared throughout the organization in various formats (e.g. email, chat, video conference, face to face, reports, etc.) the content and tone can become wildly distorted causing major miscommunications. As such, it’s critically important that leaders create opportunities to cut through the hierarchy and communicate directly with all levels of the organization.

– Communicate goals and tasks clearly.

One of the most important tasks for any leader is providing clear direction. While that might sound pretty simple, in reality it’s often not. Too many leaders are downright confusing communicators – some don’t really know what they want, others may ask for A when they really mean B and some just speak in a language that others can’t understand or are just plain boring. In contrast, great leaders speak with clarity, conviction, consistency, and charisma. Great leaders also know how to shift their messaging depending on the audience. While large town hall meetings might benefit from messaging that is witty, motivating and inspirational. One on one task delegation discussions require more clarity, specificity and sometimes even targeted questioning.

Jennifer Utz Ilecki, Vice President, Buzz Marketing & Global Partnerships, Marriott International also emphasizes the importance of considering the different ways people absorb information when discussing goals or tasks with her team.

It is incumbent upon me as a leader and department head to share important information several different ways to set my team up for success. This means not just communicating verbally but including visual materials to present the information and in some cases, helping the team experience it through offsite activities. For example, when my team is assessing a new activation opportunity, going on-site to see the environment we are working in helps get everyone on the same page much faster than describing it.”

Indeed, the best leaders don’t just bark orders, spout platitudes or provide vague direction. Instead, they realize that communicating well is one of the most important things they do. Take the time to do it right.


To lead strong during difficult times means you will communicate regularly with your team. Preferably daily check-ins on video with an app like Marco Polo, where you can see them. Leading your team through difficult times I recommend checking in with various levels of team members differently. Follow the structure of Jesus. He had His 1, His 3, 12, core, multitude, and masses. Develop these levels and daily check-in with your 1. Weekly with your 3. Monthly with your 12. Bi-monthly with your core. Quarterly your multitude. And every six months with the masses.


Leading strong through difficult times virtual communication

2. Foster virtual team interactions

In todays world and thanks to COVID virtual communities have become the norm and are essential. Without the regular face time in the hallways, meetings before and after meetings, your team members need to maintain frequent interactions and foster personal connections among one another still. You can do this through team messaging and collaboration apps, virtual meetings using conferencing tools, or setting up social media closed groups.


Find new ways to interact for both meetings and also social interactions, such as virtual coffee breaks, book clubs, or even resource and idea-sharing groups. I enjoy using the app Trello to keep all of our projects and ideas. Sharing ideas and collaborating with one another keeps us close and our culture always growing upward.

3. Develop clear standards/expectations

Remote work looks different for each employee, and volunteer, depending on their needs and those of their families. With daycare and school closures, many of your team members are multitasking throughout their workday. Empower teams by providing flexibility to balance their conflicting time demands. Keep a close eye on everything you are wanting from them. Remember, you care more for them as a person than the position they serve in.
Remote work becomes more efficient and satisfying when managers set expectations for the frequency, means, and ideal timing of communication for their teams. For example, “Use videoconferencing for daily check-in meetings, but use IM when something is urgent.” Also, if you can, let your employees know the best way and time to reach you during the workday (e.g., “I tend to be more available earlier in the day for ad hoc phone or video conversations, but if there’s an emergency later in the day, send me a text.”) Finally, keep an eye on communication among team members (to the extent appropriate), to ensure that they are sharing information as needed.

It’s recommend that managers establish these “rules of engagement” with employees or volunteers as soon as possible, ideally during the first online check-in meeting. While some choices about specific expectations may be better than others, the most important factor is that all team memebers share the same set of expectations for communication.


Determine with your team what you all want to be “core hours”. When team members, physical and remote, should all try and be available to collaborate. Then outside of that time block allow flexibility and an open schedule where your wants will decrease to allow everyone to have family time and more. I find it best to manage for outcomes and not always  the process while having team members remote and in person.
To lead strong through difficult times means we need to communicate more, listen better, be clear of expectations from all and for all. We have to fight the urge to slow down and avoid the great systems and processes that we teach through ABC Leadership Coaching, but instead, press into them more. You will be successful and lead strong through difficult times as you develop these skills.