Ways to Lead Your Business and Team during Tough Times


 118 ways to lead your business and team during tough times.

Challenging times, crises, disruptive changes, uncertaintiesare the only constant that we can expect in our entire life and in almost all the important areas of life – professional, business, relationships, financial, physical etc. Etc.

When we are formally in a Leadership role and position [Although all of are leaders in each one's own area of influence] – acquiring and refining the skills of leading through tough, challenging, difficult and unprecedented phases can become OUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET, tool and ally.

It is a fact of life that MOST of us – don't grow when things are smooth and easy-going.

We discover our strengths, shortcomings and weaknesses – only when life throws us down during our most adverse times AND these are the times our character gets shaped to make us who we become.

When the times are great, everyone's a hero.

Only during the challenging circumstances - great leaders step forward to lead their team and organization to the hall of fame.

Good leaders can laser-focus on critical components, Higher standards and learning and innovating to drive the success in the long-term.

In bad times When people are under stress for sustained periods of time and Negative emotions run high and people openly display their frustration -all eyes are on the leader that is you.

As the stress continues, fatigue sets in and they become overly pessimistic about the future and skeptical of the new and different - Relationships suffer, performances go down, losses mounts.

All those Businesses that addresses these challenges effectively - will almost always emerge post economic-downturns and recession stronger than their competition and would be in the driving seat whenever the economy improves.

Let us see - How many of you have faced these as a Business Leader [if have not] then Imagine you are a leader facing these [and you can add many more – as per your industry and scenario]

  • 1.Sales, revenue and profitability is eroding
  • 2.Your best employees are quitting
  • 3.Morale of the existing team is at the lowest
  • 4.You are planning to big down-sizing
  • 5.Focus is on Major cost cutting
  • 6.Competition is taking away your marketing base
  • 7.New disruptive changes are making your products and services much harder to sell

Leading in Tough Times – how to keep Going and thriving through Pain and Hell

[although - in this article major emphasis on the business/professional front –all these are equally applicable in our relationship, happiness and other successes] – like always all the *marked ones have separate DIY articles in the blog section "from the heart of Subhashis" in Success Unlimited Mantra

The following 118 tips majorly deals with - managing Self, managing your teams, managing short term goals and Prioritizing, focusing and driving long-term sustainable vision

  • 1.Assessing the situation - Different situations call for different leadership styles and the best leaders have an innate sense of whether to bring decisive action or reserved calm to a situation
  • 2.Set the tone – by Modeling the right behavior
  • 3.If employees don't have confidence in the leadership team – they will wonder if their job is safe and either become disengaged or start to look for a new job
  • 4.Employees need to feel heard, understood, recognized and appreciated by their managers - especially during rough patches.
  • 5.Communicating transparently about the situation - During times of crisis, communication – whether good or bad – plays a huge role. We need to Address these issues in all our communications REGULARLY – covering clearly -What has happened or is happening AND What decisions have been made (including the business rationale) AND What the plan is going forward AND what they can expect AND how they can help
  • 6.Involving all the stakeholders in decision making and implementations in open manner
  • 7.Being impartial, fair and consistent in your dealing with the team
  • 8.Being fully meritocratic
  • 9.Talking the walk AND Walking the talk
  • 10.No Blaming and making excuses*
  • 11.Taking full ownership* and responsibility* for your decision*, actions* and mistakes*
  • 12.Find the lessons to be learned
  • 13.Keep moving forward take tough-decisions*
  • 14.Making unpleasant but essential changes*
  • 15.Empowering* the employees to experiment* and making mistakes – as You never know where the next big idea will come from
  • 16.Identifying and Sharing your vision for the future - You should be clear where you are going before you can get there
  • 17.Making it crystal clear to your employees of their roles emphasizing how crucial each person's role is
  • 18.Knowing how to constantly fuel the momentum created
  • 19.Being in touch with the market through all the channels and the touchpoints to address marketplace demands swiftly and execute their new strategy initiatives flawlessly
  • 20.Finding newer and innovative* ways to Engage* Your Employees, Your Vendors, Your Customers and stakeholders
  • 21. Creating powerful employee-customer-partner Value-Proposition*
  • 22. To capture the discretionary energy of the workforce – you as a leader must understand how motivation and focus can be lost and what you can do to keep your team committed – whatever it may take
  • 23. Focus on implementation* and immediate improvisation* to Enable vastly Improved Performance
  • 24. Do intelligent* Cost-Optimization* – not the foolish cost-cutting that makes you paralyzed to even get up when the time changes
  • 25. Be Proactive—Not Just Defensive to the disruptions
  • 26. Break-all-the-rules and processes that hampers growth
  • 27.Continually seek to find more effectives ways of doing things
  • 28. Make doing business with you easy and pleasant
  • 29. Involve Your Customers
  • 30. Focus on development* of Your own People by upgrading their skills*, competencies and capability
  • 31.Ask employees on how make the leadership management system powerful and better - companies can achieve miracles
  • 32. Build trust* and nurture relationships* - Seek to understand first
  • 33. Show appreciation
  • 34. Introduce stability
  • 35. Learn how to Be a great boss*
  • 36.Avoid the temptation of
  • I.Rubbing-off your sense of urgency and panic to your people - Learn to break the news calmly, while making the seriousness of the situation clear.
  • II.To lay blame – while It is good to know the root of the problem – but any leader who allows or participates in the blame game ends up with a diminished team full of distrust. INSTEAD Ask - What do we need to do to recover quickly
  • III.To let your emotions, drive your response - When your emotions flare, give yourself a moment to let your rational brain step in - to Find productive ways to channel the negative energy into positive results
  • IV.To not understand and challenge your assumptions -Ask more questions that frame the big picture
  • V.To publicly speak critically of an imperfect employee – instead When you're feeling calmer, approach the employee directly and politely but firmly share the truth about how they have fallen short
  • VI.To withhold information - Keep them updated, and keep them focused on the work they CAN do, rather than worrying about what they CAN'T
  • VII.To softball criticism - Tackle the hard stuff first, directly and without hesitation. If they don't know they are creating a problem, they won't know they have to fix it. You can follow up with encouragement and praise to soften the blow without muddling the message
  • VIII.To draw comparisons between employees - Evaluate each employee on their own strengths and weaknesses, using a clear rubric that is fair and equal for all. Base your comparisons on an ideal, not any one person, as your standard.
  • 37.The Secrets to Motivating Teams During Difficult Times – like Dale Carnegie said "There is only one way to get anyone to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it
  • 38. Provide Support for Personal Crises
  • 39. Give recognition- because right now your staff is hearing negative news all around them thus, a pat on the back is more important than ever
  • 40. Empower* employees. Ask your employees to be creative by offering ideas on how to make the company successful and improve performance
  • 41.If the results of an idea are measurable and quantifiable, the employee can be rewarded with a percentage of the cost savings
  • 42. Clarify expectations. Your staff wants to know what is expected of them during this economic down turn - Set expectations realistically and don't be too pressurizing and hard-grinding. This will only increase their stress and lose efficiency, effectiveness and productivity
  • 43. More Often than not their job role will change especially if your company is trying to do more with less
  • 44. Offer work/life balance. It is important to remain flexible and still make allowances – during tough times
  • 45. Continue all types of training and developmental programs since this will keep your staff on the career-track they counted on
  • 46. Help employees fulfill career goals
  • 47.Move-out the dissatisfied and troublemakers and their discontent can draw a disproportionate amount of time and energy away from managers
  • 48. Intercept rumors, plug leaks and kill them at the bud itself - immediately since they can grow into unsubstantiated concerns that can lower productivity
  • 49. Let employees get out of the office to do some meaningful social work to makes them feel good.
  • 50. Revisit Your Organizational Vision and Mission
  • 51.Severe economic downturns are big opportunity to make significant changes in the organization to adjust to new global environment
  • 52. Focus on the Short Term But Don't Neglect the Long Term
  • 53. Help Your employees find jobs whom you are forced to let them go
  • 54. Avoid useless meetings
  • 55.Don't micromanage
  • 56. Pay your people what they are worth – even if it pinches in these cash starved time
  • 57.Encourage happiness
  • 58. Don't punish failure
  • 59. Offer opportunities for self-development
  • 60. Endeavour to get people's feedback and input.
  • 61.Use Low-Budget Marketing
  • 62.Use innovative selling* techniques*
  • 63.Try newer marketing channels to reach out to your ideal customers
  • 64. Connect with Peers
  • 65. Always keep your eyes and Focus on Fundamentals and Basics*
  • 66. Start your preparation to Be prepared for tough times – when you are doing very-very well
  • 67.Make managing Cash flow a priority - Don't spend all your profit – keep some back to help you ride and survive the rough times
  • 68. Keep up-to-date - Don't be ignorant to wider scale events that might have a future impact, such as a change in governments, price of raw materials, BREXIT etc.
  • 69. Understand the numbers in your business so that you can spot problems early, and develop solutions by using hard data – not guesswork
  • 70. Always keep an eye on the competition and ensure you are staying ahead of them, not slipping behind
  • 71.Understand market pricing and customer's changing preferences AND ADOPT yourself to it proactively
  • 72.Create a niche* of your own* – that is difficult to compete* in with you
  • 73.Have a world class team – never save money on this – hire the best and keep them engage
  • 74.Never stop marketing – especially when times are bad – Visibility is key
  • 75.Understand that IF IT WERE EASY, EVERYONE WOULD BE DOING IT – and that running a business is A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT
  • 76.Don't make things worse by doing nothing – keep experimenting*
  • 77.Deal with facts not fiction.
  • 78. Always cement your relationship with your existing customers
  • 79.Use this crisis to rethink, to redefine and to redesign your business
  • 80.Be prepared to try NEW and ridiculous
  • 81.Invest in your business and talent during tough times
  • 82. Invest in yourself - Find someone to mentor* you through the challenging times
  • 83. Make difficult decisions*
  • 84. Be creative in recruitment and retention of employees
  • 85. Treat people with dignity
  • 86. Expect the best and reward it
  • 88. Control your fear - Courage doesn't mean the absence of fear and of course being a leader certainly doesn't mean charging ahead blindly in the face of adversity
  • 89. Remember that the mission comes before you, too.
  • 90. Rely on your preparation
  • 91.Be tough, but human - Encourage your people.
  • 92. You need to have backup ways of getting and giving information."
  • 93. Use your resources wisely - But use them.
  • 94. Find role-models and Imitate the leaders who inspire you.
  • 96. YOU AS THE LEADER NEED TO CONTINUALLY CHANGE and reinvent* yourself and your organization
  • 97.Practice Hands-on Leadership* - Be visible, become a mentor, Know your employees, Gain a better understanding, Be a role model. Model the behaviors that you expect from your employees.
  • 98. Become a Change* Agent - Embrace change; do not brace for change, proactively seek change, Involve people in the change,
  • 99. Ask for/listen to employees' ideas
  • 100.Remove old paradigms like We have always done it this way in this organization AND the likes
  • 101.Learn and practice Dealing with Difficult People* In Difficult Situations As A Leader
  • 102.Understand that healthy disagreement and conflict* with people who have passion – could be the key for you and your team to get out of this situation - Friction Is NOT A Bad Thing
  • 103.Always Move Towards Solution Within Boundaries
  • 104.Learn to Make sense of chaos* – by constantly seeking personal challenges that makes you uncomfortable and makes you stretch
  • 105.Address gaps ASAP —and problematic employees
  • 106.Stay consistent*
  • 107.Give feedback that catalyzes action for positive change
  • 108.Learn to Ask lots of questions* – tough questions, uncomfortable questions OF YOURSELF as well as OTHERS
  • 109.Become an Active listener*
  • 110.Avoid pre-judgement
  • 111.Be professional* always
  • 112.Aim for win-win solutions*
  • 113.Be flexible * - Remember there is no one size fits all approach
  • 114.Become expert in dealing with Conflicts*
  • 115.Avoiding Favoritism, Discrimination and Prejudice
  • 116.Master the art of taking team together through Building a Consensus
  • 117.Manage fear* – your own as well as of your team
  • 118.Learn when to give-up* AND when not to
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