How to Successfully Lead Your Team during Tough Times

workplace leadership

Gathering a team of top performers and leading them to success is one of the most rewarding experiences a manager or business owner can have. You have the satisfaction of knowing that you identified strong candidates, cultivated their skills, and helped them to achieve major goals.

That said, it’s important to remember that there will likely be times when your team will face struggles. This might be because the entire company is struggling in some capacity or changes within your department have created a difficult situation. It’s crucial to maintain strong leadership during these periods. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to motivate and inspire people at times when their morale might otherwise be low.

The following are a few effective ways to do so. Even if your team is currently doing well, it’s beneficial to keep these tips in mind, as there may come a time when they prove invaluable.


Understand your employees’ feelings.

It’s natural for some employees to become discouraged when a company or department is struggling. In fact, this might be more common among A-players than those who are less engaged with their duties. Top performers typically want the business to succeed, making it a key motivating factor that keeps them invested. When they know that their efforts are contributing to the organization’s success, it can encourage them to continue working hard.

business conversation workers

This commitment usually has a positive impact on engagement. However, during difficult times, employees who want the organization to thrive can become stressed and dismayed. They also might think that their efforts aren’t yielding any positive results. In the long run, it could potentially reduce their productivity. For this reason, it’s critical to help them break free from this mindset. Furthermore, it’s important to frequently let your employees know that you understand their feelings. Your staff will be more likely to trust you during trying times if you’re willing to acknowledge their perspective and frustrations.


Focus on the mission.

The stress that develops among team members during turbulent times can be a major distraction if it’s allowed to fester. This prevents employees who might otherwise be top performers from focusing on the tasks that need to be completed.

As a leader, you can guard against this by approaching the situation with a military-like mindset. For instance, commanders in combat scenarios manage teams in highly stressful environments. They overcome this pressure and help the soldiers under their direction to do so, as well, by concentrating on the mission. When you dedicate yourself to achieving a goal and inspiring your team to move forward with the same attitude, it becomes easier to stay focused and committed. Accept that there will be hard times, and recognize that there is no option other than doing everything you can to successfully carry out your responsibilities.


Be honest with your team.

Depending on the nature of your role at your company, there may be times when you don’t have the freedom to reveal sensitive pieces of information to those under your supervision. For example, perhaps the organization is going through a difficult time, and there is a possibility that some employees may need to be let go in the future. Telling your team the specifics of the situation as it’s developing might be prohibited. Furthermore, management likely wouldn’t want rumors to be spread for fear that it could have a negative impact on staff morale.

business coworkers

It’s crucial to keep this in mind when deciding how to discuss challenging situations with your team. However, you should try to be honest with them about the circumstances as much as possible, especially when you can see team members stressed out about problems at the corporation or within the department. This may be necessary even if the truth isn’t pleasant. Employees will generally feel more anxious if they’re left to guess whether the business is in trouble or not.

Honesty is also key to establishing trust. Workers can often intuitively sense when a company or department is struggling. Even if no official announcement has been made, they can pick up on telltale signs. This means that they might be less likely to trust you if you pretend that nothing is wrong. However, if you’re as transparent as you can be, they’ll appreciate that you’re the type of leader who respects their right to have certain information.


Prepare yourself to guide your team.

Ideally, your team will never encounter tribulations. The problem is that this is not a realistic expectation. There will be times when they face challenges. Developing the skills to guide them through these tough times will help you when problems arise.