Leading in Challenging Times

Ten tips for leading your company during a time of uncertainty and fear

March 13, 2020
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time to lead with coronavirus and other distractions facing remodelers

We are still early in the year, but already 2020 has brought serious distractions. Distractions are counter to the clarity, alignment and focus you need for success. Distractions create confu- sion and fear. As a leader you need to address them.

I am not suggesting that you have answers to the present challenges or even need to take a vocal position, but I am saying that it’s your job to make sure that clients and employees are confident in your leadership.

Many years ago, we hired a grievance counselor to help the team process the tragic death of a beloved team member. I remember struggling with how they were dealing with this situation. Why were some vocal and others quiet? Why were some crying, and others were not? Why were some present while others didn’t attend?

The grievance counselor said something that I’ll never forget, and has since become an important leadership lesson. She said, “Don’t judge others on how they process death. You may not agree, but don’t judge them.”

The coronavirus virus is similar in that I am seeing many people process the situation differently. Some are so fearful that they can’t think clearly. Some are looking at the news for direction on how they should feel. Others refuse to stop shaking hands or giving hugs to make a statement. The bottom line is that it is a major distrac- tion and as the leader of a business you need to lead.

Following are 10 leadership actions.

1) Stay proactively informed but not obsessed. Try to be the leader but not caught up in the craziness.

2) Review your 2020 plan. You might be a little more conservative and set aside cash to get you through what could be a tough few months.

3) Bring the team together and share your thoughts. Include that you realize the unknowns create differences in how they are processing this. Express your commit- ment to the business and the team. Remember that displaying confidence is important.

Don’t judge others on how they process death. You may not agree, but don’t judge them.

4) Create the right work environment. This means balancing business operations with people’s anxiety.

5) Proactively set digital options for in-person meetings or postpone some meetings that are not as important.

6) Create messaging for your clients ASAP.

7) Be intentional with your techniques. In the future, people will remember how you approached this, not just “what” you did.

8) Be a role model for health and safety not an alarmist.

9) Outline how and when you will provide updates.

10) Remain present and listen. This is not time for you to be unavailable. How you lead your business through this situation is important. It’s the difference between good leaders and great ones.

About the Author


About the Author


Mark Richardson, CR, is an author, columnist, and business growth strategist. He authored the best-selling book, How Fit Is Your Business? as well as his latest book, Fit to Grow. He can be reached at mrichardson@mgrichardson.com(link sends e-mail) or 301.275.0208.

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