Improving your leadership during challenging times

February 22, 2022

Amidst a worker shortage, the Great Resignation and continued supply chain disruptions, it's likely for organizations to be experiencing difficulties in one capacity or another. Every business is bound to have its ups and downs, but the ones that prosper press on and stay true to their values, mission and objectives. While these times of change and hardship continue on, organizations require strong leadership to make it through to the other side.

Ways to improve your leadership through times of adversity include:

Communicating often
Employing clear communication is always an integral element of a successful business, but it's even more vital to promote transparency through challenging times. Open the lines of communication in all aspects — including in teams and one-on-one meetings, encouraging your workers to ask questions or simply expressing that your door is always open. This is an effective way to show your workforce you're in this together.

Emphasizing resilience
Times of difficulty often indicate a certain level of uncertainty for an organization; this is where resilience comes into play. Fostering a resilient mindset in your workforce aids in the ability to cope and adapt along with change and hardship. This involves focusing attention on employee well-being, clarifying roles and expectations and reframing threats as challenges to overcome.

Promoting flexibility
Offering your workforce flexible options ensures you're tailoring to each team member's needs. Personal circumstances and individual preferences can alter the way employees work, but more options and open discussion can support them in working to the best of their ability. Improving flexibility might even be a linchpin to success when organizations need it most. According to a 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey from Gartner, 43% of respondents claimed adaptable working hours helped them achieve greater productivity.

Ensuring access to resources and tools
Your workforce can't perform to their full potential without access to the proper tools and resources, and improving your leadership in difficult times necessitates the utmost support of your teams. This might involve offering tools for upskilling and professional development or reminding your employees that resources for leave programs and counseling services are available if needed.

Expressing empathy
The most important element of leadership in challenging situations is empathy. With hardship comes inevitable feelings of stress and ambiguity, but managers who listen with care express their willingness to do whatever their teams need to mitigate a worried mindset. Displaying empathy not only indicates your compassion and commitment to the workforce, but it also aids you in finding the right solutions to different problems. Moreover, a study from Nasdaq found that 76% of employees felt more engaged at their jobs when their managers displayed empathy.

Times have certainly been challenging in recent years, and if your organization has felt the ramifications of this uncertainty, you're not alone. However, it's how these situations are handled that will set your business apart moving forward. Implementing improved leadership structures will be a key element in overcoming hardship as it continues.