Every organization will have to go through difficult times. For the past two years, the world has had to go through a pandemic, and it was such a difficult time for everyone. Businesses struggled, the government struggled, and individuals struggled. Everyone has to deal with the disruptive and unpredictable pandemic. Companies struggled to keep up with the difficult times. Especially as the pandemic ended and everything was about to transition again, companies struggled because of workforce shortages. They have to revamp policies to meet the employees’ demands for flexibility. Many are burnout, stressed, and struggling.
As a leader, what are the things that you can do to lead through difficult times? For sure, the pandemic is just one of the many challenges that come along our way. What can we learn from it, and what strategies can we apply as we face more challenges in the future? How can you lead through uncertain times?
Beware of Your Ego
Our ego is a powerful force committed to our self-interest and self-preservation. As a leader, one of the most important things you should do is be aware, set aside your ego, and have your team’s best interest in mind.
As we rise in the ranks of leadership, our ego tends to be inflated. However, an inflated ego can narrow your vision. Instead of looking for ways to serve your organization or your team better, you often find yourself losing perspective and end up in a leadership bubble where we only see and hear what we want. You find it hard to accept criticism, limiting your chance to grow as a leader. When faced with setbacks, especially during difficult times, you find it harder to admit and learn from your mistakes.
Ego can kill our ability to move forward and be at our best in an unpredictable world. Keeping it checked gives leaders the freedom to be wrong, make mistakes, admit to being human, and move on. Being aware of your ego and not letting it take over you gives you more room to grow as a leader.
Courage Over Comfort
As humans, it’s so natural for us to choose comfort. We embrace certainty and safety and avoid danger and discomfort. We stay in our comfort zones because we are convinced that it is the best thing to do. We fear what’s outside of that comfort zone. We do not want adjustments, danger, and discomfort. This is where courage comes in. Courage is not the absence of fear. Fear is still very much present, but we find the inner strength to overcome fear, get out of our comfort zones, and move forward. And as we do, we experience growth.
Choosing courage over comfort is a difficult decision to make. It makes you vulnerable because you will likely take the heat and make mistakes as you venture into uncharted territories outside your comfort zone. However, this vulnerability also opens the doors for others to be vulnerable. As we face our fears and commit mistakes, we allow others to see that we are also humans, capable of making mistakes despite our leadership position.
Practice Caring Transparency
Caring transparency means letting people see your ideas and thoughts. It means being open and honest about what is on your mind and in your heart. Despite how difficult the situation is, you try to be as transparent as possible to your team. Do not hold back important information out of fear of how it will be received or viewed. As you do so, the people will become more secure because they know where they stand and what comes next and can better plot their life course. Transparency is letting people know what’s on your mind. Caring transparency is letting people know what’s in your heart.
Leaders take the lead for the whole team during tough times, and team members follow these leaders, knowing that they have the strategies and courage to make the team overcome the tough times.