True Leadership Is Tested In Times Of Adversity

Posted by Rick DeMarco on 27 August 2015

Tags: , , , ,

Anyone can lead when things are going smoothly. When the economy is good, profits are growing, and employees are happy and engaged; strong management, rather than leadership is the key. What’s the difference? Management is about tasks and leadership is about people. Leadership requires the ability to keep employees engaged and inspired and stay on course for delivering a strategy, despite the unexpected setbacks that may occur.

True leadership is tested when things don’t go according to plan or when things outside of the leader’s control affect the ability to inspire and engage people to deliver on the strategy and brand promise. Adversity tests both the character of a leader and the strength of commitment and engagement by team members. So what does a leader do when adversity rears its ugly head?

  • First and foremost, effective leaders maintain their composure and don’t let those they lead believe that they are panicking
  • Effective leaders take the time to weigh the options for dealing with the adversity
  • Then, they adjust the strategy or plan to deal with the unexpected challenge
  • Finally, they communicate, communicate, communicate! This means open and transparent communications about the adversity and plans to deal with it. It also means providing a platform for others to ask questions and provide comments on the impact of the diversion.

Effective leaders understand that despite strong planning and the attempt to anticipate distractions, unexpected factors and circumstances create the risk of derailing even the best laid plans. But with quick decisive action, and a concerted effort to keep others informed about the plan to deal with adversity, they can continue to deliver on the strategy, or a modified version of it, with a fully engaged and inspired team.