5 Tips for Leading Teams in Tough Times


5 Quick Tips For Leading Top Teams In Tough Times

Make sure the “doom and gloom” does not totally derail your team by finding the “positives” that are also there to be found.

Uncertain times bring with them an almost contagious, often media fuelled, atmosphere of prevailing doom and gloom.

It’s easy to jump onto this bandwagon and simply drop your head, but the challenge is to lead the team through it with positive messages (that are always there to be promoted by a good leader) re-enforced as often as the negatives that are there for anyone to see who has a TV or internet connection.Find meaningful positives that are relevant to the team.

Make sure they are truthful, not just trite “feel goods” or worse white lies just to get a quick smile or temporary morale boost.Good leaders pass on good news as well as the bad.

Morale is a state of mind, ask yourself what state is your team really in?

Tough times, uncertainty and turbulence in teams inevitably beings with it fear. Fear of job security, fear of individual, departmental or even organisational survival can really stifle innovation and morale.

Regular communication from the leadership as to what the actual state of play is, along with well timed “morale boosters” be they team days or social initiatives can go a long way to offsetting the fear that comes with uncertainty.

Fear left un-checked can also be contagious and takes good leadership to offset with not only well timed positivity, but also openness and honesty so people know where they stand.

Don’t use “leading with fear” as a management tool.

Uncertainty and fear of job security can promote a culture of unnecessary submission, compliance and of subsuming individual dignity with a “yes man” approach to being a team player.

People lose their confidence to speak up, call it like it is and place truth above harmony when required. A good leader recognises this occurring and will hopefully put human dignity over getting some extra miles out of people fearful of their jobs.

Be straight with people, expect only what is right to be expected of people and ease the fear rather than fuel it. The payoff is higher morale, productivity and loyalty.

Look at the “team” issues and not just the “balance sheet” issues.

Tough times can force leaders to channel their attention onto the micro issues, important as they are, of bottom right hand corner of the balance sheet factors and away from the basics of ongoing team development. In challenging times the ongoing health of the team itself is just as much, if not more important to everyone’s survival. Team leaders need to pull themselves back frequently from the micro issues.

Invest in the “People Bit”.

Investing time in one on one chats, mentoring team members that are showing signs of stress or fatigue and generally “taking an interest” in your people helps to alleviate fear and stress (when sincerely and well-handled).

Where possible (and budgets permit), investing in actual “total team” engagement sessions or days also demonstrates a concern for the “people bit” and engenders more confidence, faith in leadership and cohesion in tougher times.