10 Questions to Test the Quality of Your Leadership in Uncertain Times

March 13 , 2020 •  3 minute read by Saeed

“Communicate everything to your associates the more they know the more they care. Once they care, there is no stopping them.”

-Sam Walton

As an executive coach and consultant, I have worked with hundreds of successful leaders at every level. These leaders are able to successfully foster the growth of their companies, departments and teams. Based on data I’ve collected over the years, I have found that these leaders share some common traits.

Uncertainty did not arrive with COVID-19, the downward spiral of the stock market or with the latest political headlines, though it does feel especially intense at the moment. This uncertainty includes but also extends well beyond current events and it begs the question: will your business or industry look radically different one year from now?

It’s natural to feel overwhelmed, upset, and anxious when faced with uncertainty. Uncertainty in an organization has the tendency to create hearsay, amplify political rumblings, and cause water-cooler conversations among employees.

Uncertain times can severely test (and expose) the quality of your leadership. In the early days of a crisis, great leaders cut through the clutter of conflicting data and opinions, identifying the areas that need attention and allocating resources accordingly.

“Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.”

Mike Tyson

Great leaders are humble enough to admit they don’t have all the answers. At the same time, they are the rock to which people cling in turbulent times. Through their words and actions, they lift the collective strength and tenacity of the entire organization.

Here are ten questions to test the quality of your leadership in uncertain times:

1.      Do your leaders have the ability to cope with complexity?

2.      Are your leaders giving people more flexibility in dictating their own work schedules?

3.      Are your leaders putting support mechanisms in place and using organizational resources effectively?

4.      Are your leaders communicating often even when they don’t have all the answers?

5.      Do your leaders demonstrate poise and composure to reassure all stakeholders that the ship is not sinking?

6.      Are your leaders open to new information to help better decision making?

7.      Do your leaders have the flexibility to make quick decisions and communicate them clearly?

8.      Does your organization have a culture of openness that encourages ideas and insight from all levels?

9.      Do your leaders foster a culture that inspires people to overcome difficult situations?

10.  Do your leaders engage your employees by empowering them to be part of the solution?

A Final Word

The success or failure of an organization and their people during these uneasy and turbulent times lies in the hands of its leaders. Outdated mindsets create gaps in the workplace that breed stagnation and resentment rather than inspire camaraderie and cooperation.

Great leaders realize that in order to be successful they have to create more leaders at all levels of the organization. A successful leader and effective coach are one in the same. Your people need to become inspired and motivated to help them adjust and continue to be productive employees.

There are positive and proactive steps leaders can take to get their house in order to feel more confident, even when the future is unclear. Telling people what to do is antiquated. You must engage your employees, get their buy-in, tell them what your plan is, explain why you are making the decisions you are making, and always, always, always, support their continued growth and progress towards clearly defined goals.

Good luck.

Wait! Before you go…

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©2020 – All Content by Saeed H. Mirfattah, M.A., CPCC

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