Strategic Leadership during Turbulent Times

With organizations undergoing unprecedented shifts and the nature of work moving to an increasingly decentralized model, the leaders role has come under increasing scrutiny, how should leaders respond?

Collectively as an organization we have been able to manage this crisis well and I am sharing some of my insights here.

All my leaders led by example and helped their teams adapt quickly to these new realities.

A good leader inspires action and always leads by example. A critical success factor of organizational sustenance and growth in such turbulent times is a leader who stands at the helm of affairs by creating room for innovative methods, encouraging new approaches, and allowing a diverse set of people to drive business into a successful path. A leader’s ability to instill a culture of collaboration both inside the organization and externally, between the organization and its key stakeholders is what sets it apart in the market.

Everyone needs to have the same goal: Sustainability

Ideal Leadership Approach during uncertain times

While every leader has his/her own style of dealing with tough times, there are some time-tested approaches that a successful leader exhibits especially when the business is going through a crisis.

1. Communication is the key

During a crisis, a successful leader shoulders the responsibility of keeping the teams informed, secure, and calm. When the organization’s ability to adapt and respond to the situation is tested, what helps is a leader who communicates well and envisions a successful future. Such a leader is one who can map out a strategic path forward and create an understanding of the implications – both of which are critical during unstable times. Strong and open communication also serves as that powerful tool that creates a positive impact on employee engagement, collaboration, company culture, and customer relationships.

2. Pragmatic approach to new ideas

A successful leader helps his team to challenge their abilities and stay ahead of the game in fast-changing environments. They continuously explore the boundaries of personal and organizational expertise, while expanding the frontiers of applied knowledge, and encouraging new discoveries. A change-ready leader always looks for knowledge across the spectrum through various activities like benchmarking exercises, gathering market intelligence, or hiring consultants to gain insights.

3. Simple and scalable decision framework

Uncertain times call for rapid decision making. It starts with defining priorities and making smart trade-offs to keep afloat a business in turbulent times. Successful leaders can anticipate what conflicts might arise among the priorities that they have outlined. Leaders find themselves on the cross-roads to choose between the urgent and the important, between survival today and success tomorrow. But a successful one uses his defined business priorities as a scoring mechanism to force trade-offs.

4. Bold and decisive behavior

A bold leader is one who exhibits confidence and assertiveness nurtures inclusive culture and empowers the front-line for quick decision-making and execution of decisions. Such leaders also focus strongly on employee development and providing those they lead with positivity and a future orientation.

5. Creating data and fact-driven perspectives

The best leader takes personal ownership in a crisis, even though many challenges and factors lie outside his control. However, a successful leader recognizes the need for constant monitoring and control by establishing critical business priorities and key performance metrics to measure those priorities against. Such leaders encourage their teams to establish new metrics to monitor performance and create a culture of accountability. Measurement and monitoring of KPIs on a daily/weekly routine is more critical for business leaders while dealing with uncertain market conditions. This gives them a head start on what to expect and how to mitigate upcoming crises.

6. Engaging for impact

When the organization is facing a crisis, it is not just the business but also the employees who take a toll of the pressing circumstances. Effective leaders understand their team’s circumstances and distractions and ensure ways to engage and motivate their employees during stressful times. Successful leaders ensure that communication on new goals and business priorities is clearly communicated. They ensure that both customers and employees are feeling assured by sharing and amplifying positive messages – successes, acts of kindness, and stories of obstacles that have been overcome. Best leaders understand that staying productive in these times is heroic.

Ultimately turbulent times not just test the endurance levels but also the ability of a successful leader to guide the organization towards success and growth, while also assuring employees’ personal wellbeing.

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