Every organization and team has times where everyone is stretched, stress abounds, and even times where it seems things are going backwards for a while. It could be in a time of crisis for the organization or during an exceptionally busy season. It could that be internal or external issues are causing the stress. In these seasons, good leadership is more critical than ever.
Mature leaders have learned (often the hard way) that the way they respond in stress will directly impact the organization and everyone attempting to follow them. Ultimately the care for the organization greatly depends on the leader’s response during the stressful seasons.
Here are 5 mature ways for a leader to respond in stressful times:
A sense of calm
A leader must display a calmness in the midst of crisis. If the leader panics everyone panics. Trying times test a team and the leader needs to add a calmness to the situation, helping assure people everything will be okay.
This does not mean that the leader should give a false hope. People should understand reality, but it does mean helping people find a sense of balance and hope in the midst of what may seem hopeless in their minds.
There will always be temptations to give up under stress – for the team and the leader. A leader must walk by faith and keep the team moving forward. Through good times and the bad times the leader must stand firm.
You can read the hard lesson I learned about this issue in my post of advice to the leader when things are going wrong.
Character is most tested during stressful times. A leader must remain unquestioned in his or her integrity for the health of the team and organization.
People will watch to see how a leader responds. What a leader says or does in these seasons will be taken even more seriously (and subject to people’s own interpretations), so the leader must strive to be above reproach.
Decisions are harder to make but more important during stressful times. The leader must think strategically for the organization – helping to steer towards clarity and progress.
(Read a post about thinking strategically in the moment HERE)
Leaders must remain healthy personally in order to continue to lead the organization. There will be a tendency to never leave the office, but during times of stress, the leader must continue to exercise, eat well, and be disciplined in rest. The leader must guard his or hear heart spiritually, knowing temptation is especially powerful under duress.
The personal health of the leader directly impacts the health of the team.
Leader, have you ever had to lead during especially stressful times? Are you there now?
What would you add to my list?