Leading in Adversity

As a leader how do you respond to adversity?  Throughout history great leaders handled adversity with calm, strength, and daring.  They were there for the people they who looked to them for guidance.  How you respond during a crisis will determine how people will view your effectiveness overall.

To lead well during difficult times:

  1. Be calm
  2. Stand tall and take the lead
  3. Lend a hand to those who are struggling
  4. Reassure people
  5. Take decisive action
  6.  Stay with your followers

When you do these things people will see you as someone who is standing with them and helping them during the difficult times.  Finding ways to improve the situation will help them believe you are there to support them and make things better.  These things take compassion, strength and courage.  It can be easy to run away, hide behind others and to place blame.  These are all signs of weakness in a leader.

Additionally, demonstrating compassion to those who are hit hardest by the adversity will show that you do care about those around you.  This must be sincere and genuine concern and caring.  False words and assurances without action look good in the moment but do nothing in the long run.  The leader who is willing to get down alongside those who need help will end up going the furthest.  People want to be heard and to know that leadership cares about their fate.   This cannot be done from a corner office; it must be done amongst the workers.

For those who are dealing with adversity but are not formal leaders you too can make a lasting mark on those around you.  Be calm, lend a hand, avoid judging, find solutions and focus on the future.  These actions will help you and those around you to respond in a positive way to the problems at hand.  A positive attitude will be hard to sustain but it will help keep things in perspective.   It maybe that the only positive thing you can believe is that eventually it will get better.  If so, start moving that direction.  Others will follow you.

Adversity strikes all of us differently but as leaders we must respond in a way that will instill trust and faith in our team.  Be kind, be sure, be decisive and be there.  This is what your team needs right now.


Filed under Leadership, Uncategorized

6 responses to “Leading in Adversity

  1. as a parent and as a wellness coach, i would like to think that i am exhibiting leader-like qualities. i struggle most with #1: “be calm” (at least in the first few moments). i can get it together and do what must be done, but my initial reaction isn’t always the calmest (i’ve been working on that). thank you for an inspiring article, carol!

    • April – All of us struggle with calmness at some time or another. There are situations that get me going very quickly and others I can stay totally calm. It’s a journey for me. 🙂

  2. Hi Carol! Thanks a lot for this article. I really like the six steps you’ve pointed out. I guess staying calm is something many people find hard to do. Great reminder! 🙂

  3. Carol, great points and spot on. I would add as a leader you also need to be human. By that I mean you have to let people know you feel the pain as well and in that pain you can still follow the six steps.

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