4 Strategies to help you lead your team through unprecedented times

The current macroeconomic developments require businesses to quickly adapt to an uncertain environment. What’s more, as we have entered an era of a global polycrisis, change has become a certainty. If you are managing a team, it’s time to take your leadership skills to the next level in order to successfully face disruptive change. When leaders are prepared to face change, companies can become resilient and find new opportunities. Unfortunately, most existing leadership frameworks do not equip leaders to navigate this age of uncertainty successfully. This calls for a transformation in how leadership is done! 

To answer this call, Female Founders created a leadership accelerator, Lead F, to help women thrive in their leadership roles. Created with the ever-increasing complexity of the challenges present in today’s world in mind, the 3-month program equips participants with tools to manage teams in this fast-changing world. In this blog post, we will give you 3 strategies that will help you become a better leader. 

1. Manage change with scenario planning

While big changes often feel like one-time events that occur suddenly, they are not.  Change is an ever-present factor in business. Markets, your customers, your team – it all changes constantly. While we are not able to predict exactly how the change will manifest itself, we can make general predictions of what might happen. Therefore, as a leader, you need to manage anticipated changes on a regular basis.  

One specific tool you can use to be prepared for change is scenario planning. Set apart time regularly to map out different scenarios and their respective outcomes. After generating different ideas – such as a worst, neutral and best case scenario – assess the impact of each outcome. Think about both the upsides and downsides to your team, customer and business of each scenario. 

It is important to take into consideration both the short-term as well as the long-term consequences. While you will not be able to predict the future, doing this exercise when change is anticipated, will ensure you have a general roadmap in place once the change occurs and hence allow you to act quickly.  

2. Invest in building resilience

People are surprisingly adaptive. Yet, sudden change and the uncertainty that comes with it will most likely make your team members feel stressed, anxious, and powerless. Therefore, strengthening your employees’ resilience will get you a long way. 

Maintaining strong relationships with your team members will help them feel supported and increase their confidence in dealing with adversity. Knowing they have a leader and team to fall back on, will remind them that they are not facing the difficulties alone. Check in with them on a regular basis and make sure these check-ins are meaningful and you genuinely listen to their worries, fears, and needs. 

Example: instead of simply asking “How are you?” try shifting your language and ask “How are you feeling about X today?”

Another powerful tool to increase resilience is to create space both for celebrating wins and compassion for failures. You can do this via slack or during a team meeting.  Accept that things don’t always go right and that failures are important for learning and growth. 

Example: create a slack channel called “kudos” to say thanks to team members doing a great job.

3. Let go of perfectionism and embrace the unknown 

We have been conditioned to always come up with the right answer, but in a business context, this does not exist. Constantly changing environments put time constraints on working out the perfect plan. Not acting fast enough will prevent you and your team from learning through trial and error.  

Instead, aim for progress and accept that the process includes making mistakes. As long as you stay flexible and make time to reflect regularly, you will be able to course correct as you go. 

Change consists of more than just adversity. Instead of dwelling on the negatives of the situation, it is important to look for opportunities. Asking yourself these three questions can help you identify these opportunities: 

  • Where is the good in this change? 
  • What possibilities does it present? 
  • How might learning and growth happen? 

4. Clear Communication

Nothing is worse than leaders not providing sufficient and clear information about how the changing circumstances will affect the organization. The last thing you want is employees making up their own stories, as this will only create more negative feelings and confusion.  

But how do you communicate clearly when there is so much that is still uncertain? It is okay to not know all the answers right away, and saying that you don’t have an answer to something is also giving information.

Something else you can try to implement is feedback loops that allow space for questions, ideas and listening. This will make your team feel heard and valued. In addition, bringing your team into the mix when dealing with unknown situations can give you new perspectives, ideas and potential solutions. 

Conclusion

When the world is changing fast, leaders need to be well-equipped to deal with these changes. Hence, it is important that you continuously learn, evolve and navigate progressively complex challenges. Do you want to learn more about becoming a better leader through hands-on sessions with industry experts and get practical tips you can start implementing immediately? Read more about Lead F or apply directly. Applications close on August 29th 2022.