Ride out the storm

Stay strong when adversity strikes

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

When setbacks occur, all eyes turn to you for leadership. Deep down, you’re panicking. But on the outside you’re tough as nails.

During troubled times, you must restore employees’ faith in the future. They need reassurance that “this too shall pass” and that, if they join you and decide to persevere, they’ll survive and prosper. Your cool-headed guidance can inspire them even as events worsen.

Follow these tips to ride out the storm:

Spread the news. When besieged with bad news, it’s tempting to shut your office door, hunker down and avoid contact. It may seem hopeless, so you prefer to withdraw—at least temporarily.

That’s the worst possible move!

During rocky times, it’s more important than ever to stay visible. Do your best to address workers’ concerns and answer their questions. Admit what you don’t know, but be there for them anyway. Your presence alone can have a calming effect.

Put on an act. Many managers confess to us they feel like impostors who’re posing as bosses. Even after years of management, they may still see themselves as “faking it” as leaders.

When adversity strikes, this “impostor syndrome” can intensify. When you arrive at the office every morning, you may pretend you’re acting in a movie. Don’t worry—that’s normal. Wearing a mask of bravery and grace under pressure doesn’t make you a fraud; it’s simply a sign that you’ve found a smart way to cope.

Show curiosity, not alarm. When you learn of bad news, shift into detective mode. Gather facts. Pose “what if” scenarios. Study the repercussions. Treating incoming information—especially awful news—as data to be processed will prevent you from reacting emotionally.

If you curse or fidget and look distressed, you’ll immediately cause others to lose confidence in you. And their anxiety will soar if they see that you’re scared.

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