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Jun 16, 2020 | During times of economic uncertainty, shifting work conditions, and global crises, companies need capable leaders that drive results more than ever. They need leaders who can adapt to change, maintain communication, and guide their organisations toward brighter horizons. Organisations need leaders that see a crisis as a challenge and as an opportunity to create something even better than before.

So, what can companies do to evaluate who the right leaders are for high-stake roles? And what can organisations do to engage these leaders to perform their roles successfully and drive the results needed to survive an economic downturn? The post below explores four methods companies can implement to select the right leaders and engage them fully in their roles.

1. Job Fit: 

While hiring may not be a priority for many businesses during times of economic uncertainty, surviving definitely is. Companies can increase their odds of survival and success by realigning employees to roles where they can excel. That could involve re-evaluating who the key people are that the company needs to advance high-stakes projects and initiatives during uncertain times.

Determining who these key people require the re-evaluation of roles, team design, and job requirements. Reassessing roles, however, places a lot of extra pressure on managers and leaders that already feel heightened stress during times of crisis.

Therefore, the first and most important question companies should ask about their leaders is, “Is this person right for the job?” Job Fit has everything to do with whether a leader is going to succeed or fail. If you put a person who is afraid to delegate or make decisions into a leadership position, do you think they’ll succeed? Do you think they’ll be able to operate under pressure or inspire others despite an uncertain future?

This is where it becomes especially valuable to know your employees at a deeper level. Selecting the right individual for the right role means spending more time thinking about how their Cognitive Ability, Behavioral Traits, and Interests will help them succeed in their role.

2. Feedback: 

Feedback provides one of the most effective tools for developing leaders, especially during times of crisis and rapid change. The more leaders know about how others perceive them, the more they’ll be able to learn about themselves and improve at what they do. Feedback allows leaders to raise their level of self-awareness and adapt to the needs of their teams and shifting circumstances.

Of course, getting people to adapt and change based on feedback alone can be difficult. To really do well, leaders should know more about themselves, the people they lead, and how these people perceive their leader. With that knowledge, leaders can adjust to meet the needs of their teams and organisations.  

3. Coaching and Training: 

Helping leaders know more about themselves and how others perceive their leadership abilities is a great place to start. But to really take the next step in developing leaders, you need to double down on coaching and training. You need to help leaders flex and build their leadership muscles—especially during difficult times.

If your company restructures teams and roles, make sure it supports its leaders with training and coaching to keep them engaged and driving results. Start by defining what you expect out of a leader in your company. Next, make sure leaders in your organisation fully understand your company’s culture, job processes, and systems.

To help your leaders develop further, create individual or team projects that challenge them in new ways, a virtual training event, or mentorship opportunities. Now that so many people are working remotely, this could be a great opportunity to give your leaders access to mentors in other locations that can help with their development. We can learn a lot from people who’ve found success as leaders already—no matter how seasoned we are.

4. Motivation: 

As with anything else, if people feel motivated to do something, they’ll likely follow through on it. Keep leaders motivated by helping them create individual development plans and career paths so they can visualise their future with your company—even if the future seems difficult or full of uncertainty.

Once a job or role becomes stagnant, motivation begins to drop. Career pathing can help leaders visualise their goals, connect with a sense of purpose, maintain their motivation, and work even harder. After all, what does a leader have to gain if there is nothing to strive for?

Also, don’t forget to recognise your leaders for significant performances and achievements in public. That can be motiving too. And remember that a crisis brings out the best in some leaders. It’s often a time for them to do things that make their jobs exciting, whether that means operating at a fast pace, generating new ideas, or persuading others to buy into a new vision. So, encourage leaders to step up and make the most of these opportunities.

As you select and engage your leaders to achieve success, keep this in mind—leaders don’t just appear overnight. Like anyone else, they need continuous training, development, encouragement, and room to make mistakes. That’s especially true during times of crisis when stakes and stress levels run even higher.

Cut your leaders some slack and keep the lines of feedback and communication open. If your leaders have what they need to succeed, they can give the rest of your organisation what it needs to succeed as well.

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