Every business faces a downturn of sorts at some point in its life cycle. While the specifics of each downturn will vary by company, the impact on the people and the organization is often quite similar.
Anxiety, confusion and ambiguity can hang in the air as employees grapple with the current state of the business.
The pendulum may swing wildly … from procrastination or inaction as confidence sags and fear begins to surface, to a flurry of activity as people become edgy and throw everything at the wall to see what solutions stick.
If the downturn is prolonged, personal agendas and self-protection may kick in. The stress might lead to more political game-playing or outright backstabbing. The desire for stability builds and your highly marketable professionals begin to seek opportunities elsewhere – resulting in the turnover of top talent.
As a coach and consultant, I’ve worked with clients at various stages and rates of business growth, as well as through challenging downturns. In so doing, I’ve witnessed phenomenal leadership that righted the ship. And I’ve seen some really bad behavior at the top – usually born of panic or ego (or both).
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions when a business hits a wall. The companies that successfully navigate these choppy waters, however, tend to have a few key ingredients in common when it comes to how their leaders lead.
With that in mind, I’ve taken a look back at the people and companies I’ve supported through downturns and identified leadership characteristics that have triggered a business recovery, while enhancing the culture and retaining the talent.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting a 3-part blog series to share these insights, outlining the techniques and behaviors of the most effective leaders as they propelled their businesses back onto the growth curve.
Check back next week for our first topic:
A Leader’s Role is Not to Make People Feel Comfortable – It’s to Make them Confident.