As we’re all dealing with the unavoidable disruption in our current business due to the coronavirus, it’s essential to have influential leaders who can bring calm amidst the chaos. To lessen panic and avoid rash decisions, leaders need to have the trust of the people they guide.
A great leader can lead in times of prosperity and crisis. They know that most things are cyclical. Today, it’s the coronavirus, but this, too, shall pass. In order to lead in difficult times, we must know how to lead in good times.
Learn to lead with T.R.U.S.T.— transparency, relationships, understanding, shared success and truth-telling. These five qualities can guide team leaders through the good and the bad.
A great leader is always transparent and forthright. When leading a team, openness about intentions, objectives and expectations takes out the guesswork. When team members understand their goals and expectations of one another, they gain trust.
Lack of transparency can cause confusion. To create a culture of openness, hold regular meetings with the entire team and individual team members. Allow for 360-degree feedback by giving it and receiving it from your team.
Listening to the needs and concerns of your team is an integral part of leadership. By encouraging transparency in a non-threatening environment, you’ll resolve misunderstandings before they can take root and turn into a conflict.
Leadership requires a mastery level of relationship-building. Great leaders are loved and respected by the majority. They seem to have an innate ability to make others feel comfortable.
Not every leader is born with strong relationship building skills. Some learn to be better at building relationships by developing their communication skills over time.
When leading a team, accept and celebrate your teammates’ differences. Always listen intently to their challenges, and celebrate their successes. Assist them in finding ways around barriers by being more empathetic and less judgmental. Schedule “office hours” so team members can come to you with less critical questions or concerns. Learn to take feedback as well as you give it.
Great leaders can understand different perspectives. This enables them to remove themselves from a situation that may otherwise feel personal and look at it from the other person’s point of view.
A perspective is how one person sees the world through their personal point of view. Past experiences, personal values, socioeconomic status and even the way someone feels at that moment can shape one’s perspective. But reality can be very different from a personal perspective.
When you’re in a situation that’s hard to understand or feels personal, take a step back. Close your eyes and try to imagine yourself standing in the other person’s shoes. What condition is making their perspective so different than yours? Once you can comprehend other people’s points of view, you have a bird’s-eye view of the situation. Then, you can find common ground and a solution that allows everyone to move forward.
A leader understands that sharing in success and elevating those around them are crucial for exceptional leadership. Sharing collective success turns the focus from the leader to the team. Recognizing the team for it boosts motivation and creates cohesion.
As a team leader, delegate, and elevate when you can. Share your vision, and create milestones and goals for your team. Assign team members tasks associated with the goals, and celebrate the realization of their milestones. Never make success about you — always make it about them.
As a team leader, never make promises you can’t deliver, or stretch the truth for the sake of motivation. Be honest and forthright at all times. Even if the truth hurts, it’s better to be straightforward than to give false hope.
Also, if you make a mistake, own up to it. Apologize, and move on. We can never change the past, so learn from mistakes and concentrate on being a better leader in the present for a stronger team in the future.