Robert Rudder, the chief operating officer for Francos Health Clubs and Spa, shares three characteristics for leading through adversity.
“A calm sea never made a skilled sailor.” These words are true in every endeavor we may embark and is the perfect analogy to signify the importance of difficulty. Anyone can do it when times are easy, but those who can navigate and learn when the obstacles are at their toughest are the ones who break the ceiling on their ability and unlock the potential to achieve great things.
While the analogy signifies the ability for a person to develop through difficulty, it perfectly applies to a team inside of an organization. The lessons we learn, the people we become and the ability to lean on each other when the times are at their toughest are just some of the ways adversity can strengthen a team. For a great leader, the ability to lead their team through adversity can be one of the single biggest contributors to success in the long term.
There are many characteristics that go into great leadership, especially for teams in turbulent times. However, if they can accomplish these three, they are on their way to conquering whatever stands in their way.
When times are at their most difficult, this is when the leader needs to be their most accessible. Locking arms with everyone and helping them feel they are in lockstep as one unit gives everyone the feeling they matter, they are connected and ensures no one gets left behind. The leader sets the tone and when they create an environment that ensures people come first, the team will carry the torch in making sure everyone in the downline stays connected.
Focus on the Vision
One of the most important emotions a leader can instill in their team is the feeling of hope. Hope can give someone the confidence to keep plowing ahead because they know it will lead to something good down the road. Instilling a sense of hope that the future will be better and brighter can give the entire team the trust to keep taking the next step. Casting a clear vision of what that better future will be can completely change the way a team goes through and comes out of the worst times. Hope is a difference maker and comes from knowing there is better around the corner.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of great leadership but it’s not just about talking. Communication comes in many forms. Sometimes it’s what is not said, but done, that sends the loudest message. In the examples above, being engaged doesn’t necessarily take words but presence. Being there, showing you care, listening when team members need a shoulder is arguably the most powerful forms of communication and doesn’t take uttering one word.
Everyone – regardless of industry – will one day come upon an obstacle that will test them beyond what they’ve ever experienced. An obstacle that will require them to dig down and find something inside of themselves to keep moving and not quit. There are many variables that can contribute to successfully leading through adversity. Intentionally being engaged, keeping your focus on the future by instilling hope, and mastering the ability of communication can elevate the chances of teams not just surviving but thriving when times get tough.
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