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Managing Leadership Challenges In Turbulent Times

Every organisation must provide leadership training to the potential few. Training viable employees, who are capable of taking the reins, especially during periods of instability, will allow budding employees a chance to grow and experience an alternate mode of functioning

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Every day is not Sunday, and in the corporate world, even Sundays could feel like another working day, especially in the face of a crisis. Any issue that escalates to magnanimous proportions can overshadow out decades of hard work and the goodwill of the company in a matter of hours. Even a small issue can spiral into a storm that blows company reputation to smithereens. It is these turbulent times which are the true test of great leadership. The following key points will hold the new-age leaders in good stead, if applied diligently.

Proactive Management
One of the hardest things for any leader to do perhaps is choosing a suitable successor to himself. A popular old Chinese proverb says: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." Identifying, training and preparing a subordinate to phase into a leadership role may take a lot of time, but it will be highly effective in the long run and especially during turbulent times. Proactively planning, selecting and appointing a successor for the existing leader can help avert possible damaging scenarios, adequately delegate tasks, and allow for smooth and efficient management of the situation at hand. Look for individuals that exhibit the characteristics and assets required to be successful in the allotted leadership position.

Clear Communication
During a crisis, the first thing that surfaces is tension. The second is misunderstandings. However the good news is that misunderstandings can be cleared immediately, and sometimes altogether avoided, if there remains clear conversation between the leader and the employee. Conversations that echo a clear and concise train of thought between the leader and the employee or client, allow for considerable room for improvement throughout the crisis. Additionally, another essential factor is constantly updating every individual - be it employee or client - involved. This will help every concerning individual stay informed and on the same page during a discussion.

Analytical Nature
Although a certain degree of technical skill is a minimal requirement, truly effective leaders are distinguished by a highly analytical nature. Analytical leaders are adaptable and possess a systematic way to achieve results. A conceptually analytical approach can help better evaluate existing scenarios to gauge and determine the appropriate course of action according to the available resources.  

Effective Planning 
Every plan begins with a clear objective. In the event of a crisis, every leader must draft and plan effectively to ensure that every employee in concern remains well informed and stays updated to guarantee smooth sailing in choppy waters. Specific actions must be thought of, to strategically manoeuvre the company out of the crisis. The best way forward in every instance is to plan in accordance with current scenarios and in anticipation of future events.

Utilise the Digital Space 
A key component of every successful business is their social media department. With an efficient social media team, it is possible to assuage a setback via constant updates. It is possible to improve communication on a micro level between a multitude of customers and the organisation. By interacting with real-time updates and developments, organisations are able to cleverly measure negative and positive sentiments, and help remove existing doubts in the minds of the consumers.

Include Leadership 
Another option to consider would be the inclusion of every possible level of leadership in the strategic discussions and developments that will aid in propelling the company out of choppy waters. Enlighten other leaders and introduce them to the bigger picture of the situation at hand, so that they understand the context and gain a different perspective to approach the problem with. Additionally, they may help by providing an alternate direction to pursue.

Utilise the Strengths and Talents  
Even when there is less to work with, leaders push forth because they understand that less is more. By effectively utilising the strengths and talents of employees across various segments, they are able to effectuate a series of actions that are beneficial to the organisation during tumultuous periods of times. Employing the strength and talent attributed to each individual strategically will help enhance productivity levels considerably.

Maintain a Backup of Data and People
For every scenario, a little foreboding goes a long way in nipping issues in the bud. Foreboding allows us to create and maintain multiple back-ups of our data both online and offline. Be it on cloud storage, in a physical form or by means of a 3-2-1 backup plan, individuals adopt multiple strategies to ensure a safe retention of existing data for future reference or use. Similarly, leaders must take measures to maintain back up options of potential employees in the event of sudden happenings. By grooming and upscaling existing employees, leaders can concentrate their efforts on bringing in new personnel so that the existing employees may further groom and train their subordinates - much like the trickle-down effect.

Engage Stakeholders
Expectations of new-age CEOs are higher than before and there is an emerging need to include stakeholders to facilitate internal communication and improved decision-making once involved. It is essential therefore to seek the opinions and thoughts of stakeholders. Although it is difficult to satiate all the stakeholders of the organisation, efforts must be taken to include and make them feel like leaders in their own way.

Every organisation must provide leadership training to the potential few. Training viable employees, who are capable of taking the reins, especially during periods of instability, will allow budding employees a chance to grow and experience an alternate mode of functioning.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Randy Slechta

The atuthor is CEO, Leadership Management International

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