30 Second Strategies: Leading your team during times of adversity.

English: Right guard Dante Goodman carries the...
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What can you do if your team is undergoing quite a bit of adversity and morale is plummeting?

As a leader in your organization, it is important that you also try to keep your morale up. It’s not always easy, but everyone feeds off of everyone’s energy. As you know, your team’s morale will quickly reflect itself in the little things that affect productivity. All shifts of energy build upon momentum, so what can you do to limit negative momentum and possibly build morale? Here are some strategies.

1. Gratitude statements. Have your team literally write down 1-3 things you are thankful for under present circumstances. You do it, too. Discuss this with your team during 1:1 meetings. We sometimes need this physical reminder to see through the stress, fear and frustration we may feel about a situation. Similarly, it’s important to recognize the success we do experience and the good things that surround us.

2. Be open about the situation. Be transparent about what is happening. Everyone is talking about it, so lead the charge. Acknowledge the elephant in the room and address what is true. Focus on empowering your team by focusing on the resources and capabilities available to them. Ask their for their input and tap into their brainstorming power. Help them feel that they are valuable and part of the solution.

3. Define what everyone has to do to win. Help your team view things differently. Perhaps the bottom line still needs to stay the same, but you can begin measuring success on a smaller scale. Focus on the things that may be a part of declining productivity. Change what is “required”. Help your team focus on the essential elements of their position. Create weekly goals and daily goals that help advance the company’s mission, vision and purpose. Choose some goals that you strongly believe your team can meet, others that you believe they’ll likely meet and a couple that they likely won’t meet. Every positive win will fuel their desire to go for the next goal.

4. Provide your team with hope. Celebrate the victories. Make the celebration loud and visible to everyone. Acknowledge everyone involved. Acknowledge the importance of everyone. Build your vocabulary; learn new and better ways to convey how your team’s blood, sweat and tears made it possible to win.

5. Money may be tight, but creativity is free. Evaluate how you can give back to them. Take a humanistic perspective and address the state of their life at home, health, spiritual and personal development, continued education, financial well-being, and relationships. Make this a part of your 1:1 meetings. What resources do you have available that you could use to promote their well-being? Be creative. Think out of the box. How can you challenge them to focus on the “big picture”? Do whatever possible to invest in them, including those things that may even be free!

How else do you think you can lead your team through adversity?

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