How to Lead When Times Are Tough

The COVID-19 pandemic was, for many younger leaders, the first major hardship that impacted their organizations. It’s led to many changes, including what some experts are calling the “great rethink” (or the “great resignation”) that’s prompting employees to seek out organizations that suit their values.

Being a great leader is more important than ever, but leading when times are tough is more challenging than leading during the best of times. You have to be a great leader to keep your organization on track, but how can you do it?

We’re here with a few tips. Read on to learn how to improve your leadership skills during tough times.

Be Adaptable and Flexible

The most important thing that you, as a leader, can do when times are tough is to stay adaptable and flexible. Your world has changed, and it’s likely to continue changing in new and unexpected ways. Your flexibility and adaptability will make you a better leader.

When you commit to flexibility, you’ll be able to maintain a more level head. Having your ideas set in stone will make it hard for you to change course. One small roadblock can turn into a catastrophe. 

Consider how successful leaders operated during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. They switched to remote work and offered helpful stipends to employees to keep them safe and productive at home.

An inflexible leader would never have been able to come up with innovations like that on their own. 

times are tough

Be Willing to Listen and Learn

Being a good leader also requires being a good listener and always being open to new information. No good leader thinks that they know it all, and tough times should make it obvious that you still have room to grow. 

Listen to people who inspire you and see how they’re changing things. You also need to listen to the people that you lead. Remember that you can learn things from employees and that their ideas matter just as much as your own.

During a tough time, you have to learn to grow together and collaborate.

Cultivate a Vision

Things have changed and your ideas haven’t gone to plan. That’s okay. This is the perfect time to cultivate a new vision and plan that can bring you and your organization through this difficult time. 

This is the time to get creative, collaborate, and observe other leaders who inspire you. 

Generate new ideas and set clear goals for the future, even if you’re not sure how you’re going to achieve them yet. These goals will give comfort to your employees because they’ll see that you have a path forward. 

Offer Compassion and Support

Part of being a leader is making sure that you’re taking care of your employees. This is a tough time for them as well, and they need to know that you have their best interests at heart.

How can you make life easier for your employees? What changes can you make to offer more support?

Again, let’s consider how great leaders responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them allowed flexible or entirely remote work schedules. Some offered cost-of-living pay increases and more flexibility regarding sick leave.

Great leaders aren’t just “bosses.” Show that you care. 

Leading When Times Are Tough Is a Challenge

No one can truly prepare you for how to lead when times are tough. Life will suddenly hit “hard mode” and you’ll have to adapt. These tips, however, can set you on the right path so you can be an effective leader regardless of the circumstances.

At BP Dudley & Associates, we offer professional development training for leaders who are ready to grow and thrive. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.