The challenges leaders are facing this year are unlike anything many of us have ever seen. With a global pandemic, economic fallout, and heightened anxiety and tension across the country, today’s leaders are finding themselves and  their businesses thrust into a world no one knew was coming.

As leaders, people look up to us – for guidance, support, and calm when waters get rough. So, how are you meeting the challenge? Are your words and actions bringing a sense of unity? Or are they causing further divide? One thing I have learned over the last few months, is that although we are all very much “in this together”, we are very much in it alone at times as well – each person, each family has a different story to tell about how their lives have changed. And many are looking for direction on how to move forward. Although not every situation is the same, there remain some tried and true strategies leaders can take to keep their employees and businesses not only afloat but filled with a sense of hope and optimism. If you have not already, give a few of these a try:

Focus on Inspiring Others – Not Just Managing Performance

In short, managing performance right now is tough. Whether you are constrained through video conferencing and long for face-to-face interaction or if your people are simply exhausted from the weight of pandemic and struggling to keep up, patience with yourself and others is key. Everyone right now is looking for some level of comfort and inspiration to keep them going. As the leader, you are perfectly poised to be that voice. Listen, be genuine and stay positive. Need some inspiration yourself? Check out these inspiring podcasts.

Not a Surprise – Communication is Key

While inspiring your workforce is much needed, there can be a fine line between inspiring others and promising the moon. Another lesson that has been reinforced over the last few months is that things can (and will) change – and rapidly. Communicating clearly, honestly, and adaptively will build trust within your teams. Be forthright that things are changing. Showing we are ready and able to pivot when needed – all while keeping our chins up – will be the make or break of many organizations. As the leader, it is up to you to manage expectations and that all starts with clear and honest communication.

Maybe a Surprise – You Need to be Vulnerable

The words ‘leader’ and ‘vulnerable’ do not go in the same sentence, right? Afterall, throughout the years many of us got to where we are because of our thick-skin and were even cautioned against showing our vulnerability. Well, times have changed. And we know now that allowing yourself to be vulnerable – even in front of your direct reports – is a good, healthy thing. We are all vulnerable right now – our world has been flipped upside down overnight. The world we counted on is not quite the same and we all are asking ourselves “Is it just me…Am I the only one that doesn’t have it all together right now?”. When leaders open up to their teams, it shows they are human just like everyone else. It gives the sense that yes – we are all in this together, and we will make it through together. Vulnerability shows…I see you, I hear you, and I am with you.

You’ve heard it a million times – these are tough times, and more tough times most likely lay ahead as we continue the battle against COVID-19. However, with the right leadership at the helm, your organization can weather the storm and even flourish – building a sense of unity and common purpose we could only dream about until now.

Looking to strengthen your leadership ability? Head on over to our website to learn more about our Executive Coaching Services. If your organization could benefit from a new perspective during this challenging time, I encourage you to contact my team and I at East Tenth Group today.