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
– 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.
2. Foster virtual team interactions
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
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.