As a leader, in times of stress, uncertainty, tight deadlines and challenges, that’s the time to step up and lead from the front. Here’s how you can get down and dirty with your team.

We are down to the wire, with only about two months left until the end of the year. A Chinese proverb tells us that, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The activities and effort we put in now will dictate how we begin 2021. We’ve still got work to do.

Now is the time when we see the professionals separate from the amateurs and take the lead. It’s not a time to take your foot off the gas and coast through to New Year’s Eve. Nope. Time to dig deep and hold the line. Foot on the gas. It’s time to get dirty, push harder, and double and triple down on your effort.

That means you too, leaders. Perhaps you more than anyone. As a leader, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and get dirty. And yes, sometimes that means being a little more aggressive than your typical M.O.

One of former Navy SEAL, podcaster and author Jocko Willink’s dichotomies of leadership is: A leader must be aggressive but not overbearing.

It’s a fine line to walk. You want your team to feel that you’re approachable, yet you must let them know that they aren’t going to pull one over you.

You are there to help them be the best version of themselves possible, to help them achieve their goals. Now, more than ever, is the time. While other leaders and teams are pulling back and allowing their teams to slack off, you have to continue to uphold your level of standards and help your team finish the year strong. Not for you. For them. So they can live the life they want. So they can make the income they want for themselves and their families.

If you hold back, you’re only holding them back. They might not like you at the moment, and that’s OK. They can hate you now, but they will thank you later. Be aggressive, and hold the line.

The fourth quarter is where the pros show up. The pros do not let excuses, holidays, the market, technology or whatever to derail them from their goals. The pros show up and do the work — day in and day out.

Below is an excerpt from “A Professional Accepts No Excuses” from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield:

The amateur, underestimating Resistance’s cunning, permits the flu to keep him from his chapters; he believes the serpent’s voice in his head that says mailing off that manuscript is more important than doing the day’s work. The professional has learned better. He respects Resistance. He knows if he caves in today, no matter how plausible the pretext, he’ll be twice as likely to cave in tomorrow. The professional knows that Resistance is like a telemarketer; if you so much as say hello you’re finished, the pro doesn’t even pick up the phone. He stays at work.

There is probably no better example of someone who accepts no excuses than David Goggins. In his book, Can’t Hurt Me, Goggins shares some serious stuff he had to overcome — childhood abuse, completing three rounds of Hell Week, once on broken legs, running ultramarathons injured, multiple heart surgeries and more.

But instead of letting it derail him, he used it as fuel to continue to push through and become unstoppable. What does this have to do with end-of-year goals and preparing for 2021? 

Everything. You have way more in you than you even know. When it gets hard and uncomfortable, that’s the time to make one more phone call, read one more page, do one more pushup. With each rep, you are training your mind to finish strong in everything you do. No limits. No excuses. No regrets.

As a leader, in times of stress, uncertainty, tight deadlines and challenges you need to step up and lead from the front. Here’s how you can get down and dirty with your team:

1. Roll up your sleeves

If you still have the skills and expertise to do the work (sales calls, graphic design, customer service, etc.), get in, and do the work. Make the calls, go on appointments, set appointments for your team members and help them get caught up on a few projects. 

The point here is to go from managing/leading to executing so that everyone can finish the year strong and well-prepared to hit the ground running in 2021.

2. Take over non-dollar-producing tasks

Maybe your skills are a bit rusty, and that’s fine. How else can you shift the workload and help your team stay focused on those dollar-producing activities? Perhaps you jump in and do some data entry, pull call sheets, draft contracts or handle other miscellaneous administrative tasks. 

Whatever you do, streamline your team’s days so they are not bogged down with the minutia. It might only be temporary, but it might also be the small leverage your team members need to hit their goals.

3. Bring in needed resources

Are you in the midst of your busiest time of year? Do you need to bring in a few temporary staff members? Maybe you can outsource some of the day-to-day tasks. Maybe it’s a system or piece of technology that would make all the difference to your team’s productivity. Get it, and get out of their way.

4. Support your team 

Be more visible than ever. How can you support your team so they can do their best work? Maybe you bring in someone to go do their holiday shopping for them, host a pizza night if they are late at the office grinding or simply celebrate every single win — big or small. This extra push and support will bolster morale and get everyone through the long days.

5. Coach and train

Double down on coaching and training. Coach them through all live calls, have team members shadow you on the appointments that you are going on for them, and get granular. This isn’t the time to talk about next year’s goals or to do a bunch of airy inspirational talks. No. This is the time to tweak a few words in an email or change up the opening line of a phone call.

I’m getting in on the action too. We’re currently aggressively looking for new teams to add to Hergenrother Realty Group in 2021. Yes, our COO and director of growth are out there making calls and screening candidates, but when we have a high-priority or high-impact goal such as this, sometimes those activities could use a little help. 

So, what am I doing? I’m doing more podcasts. I taught a virtual three-day course to 300 people. I’m conducting additional online interviews and guest speaking spots, and networking with my contacts. 

It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it has a big impact with extending our reach to attract talent. And now we’ve got several viable CEOs and teams we’re in conversations with who will have us well-positioned for the year ahead.  

So, what are you going to do today — and every day for the next two months — to finish the year strong?

 Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Adam Hergenrother Companies, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s holistic approach to business here.

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