y business partner is fond of saying that a lot of people could run General Motors when times are good, but only a small handful of people on the planet can when the economy takes a down-turn.
In essence, true leadership comes to light when the sea churns and starts to get rough. As we face fall-out from the coronavirus and the recent oil shocks, it is important to keep a proper perspective and look for the opportunities (even the small ones) these challenges present. Now may be the perfect time to assess your current and future leaders.
I’m not referring to online assessments, business coaches, or other HR initiatives, although also usually beneficial, I’m talking about really watching and listening to what is going on in your organization and how your leaders are acting. In too many cases, we assess our leaders through one-on-one conversations, management meetings, or numbers on a page, but watching how they act and react in difficult times will show you who they really are. As a leader, you might want to challenge yourself to be more visible and present in your workplaces and to look for the following to determine who your true leaders are:
- Transparency: Are your leaders sharing as much appropriate information as possible with their people? People want, deserve, need and expect as much information as they can get in tough times. It’s important to remember that all voids end up getting filled, don’t let others fill it with gossip and false conjecture.
- Visibility: Are your leaders visible and available to answer questions and concerns of employees? If they spend more time in the office and disappear (including virtually) during critical times, you don’t have an effective leader.
- Focus: Are they still focused on the goals and objectives of the company and driving them forward? Focus on the business is always important, but it becomes even more critical during times like these. If your leaders are losing focus on the business and getting preoccupied with things they can’t control, you have a problem that needs to be addressed.
- Communication: Are your leaders dependable in communicating the information coming from the highest levels of the organization? Just because you may give them well thought out information, doesn’t mean they effectively present it to their team.
- Ambiguity: Are your leaders capable of making decisions based on ambiguous information? In times of uncertainty, leaders that can clarify ambiguous information and calmly deliver it to team members are indispensable in keeping the team focused on the ultimate goals of the organization.
- Compassion: Are your leaders capable of showing the right amount of compassion? Times like these will inevitably bring out traits in employees that you might not have seen before. True leaders are able to acknowledge, respect and appropriately respond to the concerns of all their employees, no matter how diverse.
I have been around long enough to know that viruses run their course and oil shocks have a way of working themselves out rather quickly. If history is any indication, these tough times will be conquered and strong leadership will help you get there faster and well-positioned for the future. Don’t let this opportunity pass without really assessing what you have in your leadership ranks.
About the Author:
Jay D. Rosencrantz is Managing Director at Pappas DeLaney and brings over 20 years of diverse business experience and insights to his consultative role.
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