However, thriving as a strong leader and supporting your team may not be as easy as one, two, and three. In a recent webinar, SEVEN Career Coaching CEO Evelyn Cotter and SEVEN Leadership Coach Katy Trost discussed how leaders should use this time in a constructive way, identifying growth opportunities and using these challenges to develop their leadership skills.
SEVEN Career Coaching has lined up some tips to guide you in being a strong leader through times of global change:
Create a good culture of support, a sense of safety
It is important as a leader to keep your cool in an external environment that is placing pressure on everybody. Do not snap when your employees have a special request, try to go the extra mile, reach out to your employees, offer your support, show that you care and have empathy and be extra kind to people. Everyone is in survival mode and fearful.
Redefine metrics of success
Times are tough and many employees are facing the fear that they might not have a job in a few months. It is important to inspire your employees and to not go into a stress reaction. By redefining your metrics of success, you are creating psychological safety for your team. Do not force your team to perform, as the goal here is to keep a balance. Everyone is scared of getting laid off and once employees have this tunnel vision, their main objective is not to focus on your business, but whether they are safe in their job or looking for a new job outside of company.
Always measure the output, instead of the result, particularly now. The traffic light method, where you have three goals – one tangible, a stretch goal and something more accessible, is a useful tool that can guide you and your team in meeting your key performance indicators.
Recognise your team’s successes, however small, to keep the morale high and keep the team motivated.
Cultivate good habits for yourself and for your team
Create a space for yourself, resetting every day to allow you to keep calm and rational and to not make decisions out of emotion. Setting aside an hour a day for yourself will help you to not go into tunnel vision. This mindset counts for both the leader and employees. Get up at the same time, keep healthy, don’t binge on Netflix, keep your energy as high as possible – get back to the basics, eat well, sleep well, exercise, think twice before you act. When you are with your team, check in with high energy first thing in the morning, check in with a small win at the end of the day, share something positive. This helps you and your team to get your minds out of survival mode. The perspective you adopt during these times is the most important thing.
Communication is key
Most companies have had to revert to remote working. Try to stay connected. Check in and be transparent, but don’t share every challenge with your team, as they are using you as strength and as an anchor. As a leader, you can coach people through their fears, take time to listen to their needs and show your team the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead. Remain consistent in your communications with your team and when setting up meetings, rather have more people in less meetings, as studies have proven that virtual meetings can be quite taxing.
Use key team members to help keep the energy high
Sometimes everyone needs just a little guidance to set them on the path of success. Set up peer coaching between colleagues and for yourself to keep members of the company motivated. Pick a few people in the team that have a little influence on other team members and give them the responsibility to keep spirits high and be an example for the rest. This support also helps you as the leader to remain buoyant and feel supported.
Make a list of ten to 20 key contacts – it can be on your team, outside of the organisation, investors, collaborations and nurture these contacts during that time so you can build long, lasting relationships going forward.
Be strategic and create strategies for every eventuality as contingency
To navigate your organisation through this trying time, a leader needs to create a strategy for themselves and for their team. A leader needs to take into account how they can stay focused, simplify tasks, prioritise and plan out objectives and keep the momentum going in terms of workflow.
Take a step back and look at what the worst possible thing is that can happen – if nothing goes as planned, rationalise that fear and make a survival plan out of that worst case scenario, stating how long would it take you to bounce back, what would be the worst costs, financially and emotionally. This would set you on the path of rationalising that fear and seeing your way through these challenges.
Leadership is contagious, but so is a negative attitude
If we show up as leaders now, we will be remembered as such years from now. How did the company treat their employees and their customers during this crisis? It is important to show up now, to keep the business alive and running, show up for community, employees, stakeholders, partners and customers, while not breaking under pressure. Keeping and showing a positive attitude will help those around you to also remain positive.
There is always opportunity in crisis and recession. If you are in a growth mindset, the way that you think will determine the results that you get out of the scenario and how it will affect you. “Relax, everything is in chaos anyway,” jests Evelyn.
Although the pandemic has brought about a more heightened sense of community, a leader still needs to maintain their boundaries in a work environment and take care of themselves too, probably more than usual. This, believes Evelyn, is where a career coach plays a big role. “If you are a leader who is serious and ambitious, I would advise you to invest in your own growth and in your own mental health and reach out to a coach to guide you.”
With the experience of helping leaders across the globe and in business hives such as the fast-paced London and New York, our coaches will help you achieve leadership success, despite facing a global challenge.
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