Leading through challenges

Watch our short video that explains how lead through challenges.

During your time as a leader, your organisation will encounter challenges and periods of change. This can be difficult for you and the team, so it’s a good idea to have some strategies in place to get help.

When you are faced with a challenge or crisis, you often need to act quickly – sometimes even before you have all the facts. Despite this, it’s important to make sure that you bring your team along with you and one of the key factors is communication. Information should be provided to everybody involved in a transparent and open way.

Information is powerful as it:

  • reduces the emotional distress caused by the unknown
  • diminishes fear,
  • provides tactical guidance, and
  • demonstrates to employees that their leaders are concerned, involved, knowledgeable when dealing with a situation.

During challenging times, it’s more important than ever for a leader to take charge and show they are in control of a situation. As a leader, make sure that you are accessible, and that people know how to contact you. Recognise people’s emotions, show respect by listening, and also consider what is not being said.

When the challenge or crisis subsides and things go back to normal, it’s useful to look at what happened and consider ways that can make your organisation more robust for future challenges.

Managing change within your organisation is often strategically necessary but can fail more times than it succeeds. To ensure you have a better chance, be clear about the outcomes and results you expect. What you say and do as a leader affects how people respond, and in turn, how successful the results are. Although formal processes can be put in place, it’s useful to remember that understanding the practical side can take time and the human side of change can be forgotten. When change happens, an effective leader will recognise the importance of engaging everyone involved whilst remembering that people need time to adapt.

Effective change is about leading people and not just the process. If you have the commitment from the people involved, then change is more likely to happen.

This five-step framework is useful for leading through change.

  • Let go of what you can’t control and lead on what you can. This enables you and your team to focus and achieve what’s needed.
  • Change can be an opportunity to learn and grow, and in turn, brings the chance to explore new ground.
  • Communicate clearly at all stages by being open and honest with your team. Give them as much information as you can, and make sure you let them know what’s happening.
  • Let your team know the changes that are taking place. Help them build upon their existing strengths and skills, this will help them to continue feeling motivated and engaged.
  • Recognise the efforts of your team by telling them their positive response to the changes is valued. Highlight specific instances where you valued their support and ability to adjust.