20 Tips For Leaders During Turbulent Times:

Last week Iasked readers to submit their burning leadership development questions. And
boy, did they ever! Over 50 responses in just two days and more coming in every
I’m going to do my best to get to as many as I can. Those
that get picked for a post will receive a free copy of
my eBook.
This question from Bridgette:

“My organization is
going through yet another re-organization. We are shifting people, projects and
changing roles. We don’t seem to have the big picture, therefore making it
difficult as a leader in the department to support senior management.

During the re-organization
or transformation of the department, what are the top objectives for the key
leaders? What should be our focus to ensure success?

Bridgette, I feel your pain. I once worked in an organization and went
through 8 reorgs, downsizings, and new bosses in 8 years.  If anything, we got really good at leading
through chaos. If I had to summarize the three most important things for a
leader to focus on to ensure success in turbulent times, it would be:

1. Manage your own
response to the change.
Your employees will be watching you – what you say,
how you say it, what you do, etc…. Do your best to set a positive example and
be a role model for resiliency and dealing with the uncertainty.

2. Communicate.
This is not a time to hunker down and wait until you have all of the “right”
answers. Make yourself accessible, talk to people, listen, and do your best to
gain clarity from your own leaders.

3. Involvement.
Find ways to get people involved, in whatever way you can. Passengers don’t get
carsick from the motion – it’s from the lack of control. Give them a sense of control.

Those are the big 3 themes from the list below that jump out
for me. Here’s a more complete list for leading during turbulent times:

1. Make time to get out and see people. When you are with
them spend most of the time listening.

2. Resist the urge to try and take control of
everything.  Instead get your star
performers involved and rely on them.

3. Tell your people everything that might matter to
them.  If there are things you cannot
tell them, tell them that.

4. Strong emotions will not disappear overnight.  Provide opportunities for people to
talk.  Be patient.

5. Build trust by framing everything you do and say in a way
that expresses your trust in them.

6. Find ways to involve as many people as possible as early
as possible.

7. Be reliable by doing exactly what you say.  If you don’t admit it and explain.

8. Reward people for doing what needs to get done.

9. Show that you care about everyone in the organization
including those that may not be directly impacted.

10.Be careful to not let sarcasm or cynicism creep into your

11. Provide more frequent feedback to let people know they
are appreciated for doing the right things and making improvements.

12. Bolster self esteem by helping people see their

13. If you cannot tell people something explain why in
sufficient detail.

14. Suggest people participate in change skills sessions.

15. Replace or adjust the measures that do not reflect the
current priorities.

16. Go out of your way to reinforce the behavior and results

17. Re-affirm the important project milestones and

18. Separate what is “business as usual” from what is or
soon may be different.

19. Focus on individual coaching in a way that helps people
see themselves being successful.

20. Pay extra attention to your star performers. They are
often the first to get insecure.