Here is an ugly scenario for a leader…
Your company is finally ready to launch after pushing back several times over more than a year. Everything looks great on paper. Your social media presence is expanding at an excellent pace. You have all the products and services ready to go. You even wrote a book which was endorsed by a world renowned industry leader. Suddenly, with less than two weeks to go, you have what is supposed to be a routine call with your social media team and they inform you that the conversion rate is alarmingly lower than they had anticipated and it is unlikely that the launch can take place successfully.
You are getting closer and closer to the end of the calendar year. If the launch is unable to occur by a certain date, the holiday season will dictate the postponement of the launch for approximately six weeks. You have employees who have waited on good faith to get paid for months. How do you explain that it will likely be two months more before everything gets rolling? Not to mention, that it’s two more months of expenses without any money coming in to cover them.
A pretty grim picture…
Especially since you as the leader were blindsided by this information. A month or so earlier and it’s not the end of the world. But this is an issue. It’s not a crisis… yet. But handling this the wrong way could be disastrous and lead to a crisis that will create that worst case scenario.
This is all on the leader. No one else. How you respond in this kind of situation is the difference between success and failure. Here are the steps I recommend to maintain your poise and to steer the ship back on course:
- Be angry but in an appropriate way and put a time limit on it – It’s perfectly fine to be angry, especially if and when you had no idea this was coming. How you handle the anger is critical. Screaming and yelling is inappropriate and destructive. I promise you that you will lose members of your team if they see you have self-control issues, especially in key moments. If someone or something needs to be addressed immediately handle it calmly and behind closed doors. Give yourself no more than 30 minutes to be angry. You have important things to do and you need a clear focused mind.
- Get to the root of the problem – The problem exists. Why? What is the cause? Your team should be prepared to give you answers. You, as the leader, must demand honest answers and feedback and accept it without recurring anger, and it’s a must to keep calm and composed.
- Demand the solution – What must be done to fix the problem? How long will it take? Once you get those answers from your team, you must do two things. You must give them the tools, support, and cooperation they need to get to the solution and make it happen.
- Be part of the solution – If your help is needed, provide it. Clear your desk if necessary. Sometimes it takes the leader to lead the effort when fixing the problem. Be available. If you trust your team, you must allow them to do their jobs and trust them to do those jobs effectively.
- Hold your team accountable for the solution – You trust your team and you believe in them, but make it clear as the leader that the right results are expected and demanded. If those results are not met. There will be consequences. Big ones. Follow through on everything you say.
Remember, leadership is not an easy job. How you handle yourself during key situations will define how much success you ultimately achieve. Poised Leadership equals Effective Leadership.
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