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How to lead when things aren’t going well

Leading looks easy when things are going well. When sales are increasing, positions are filled and customers are happy, leaders feel confident and proud. Teams gel and the work feels easy.

But let’s be honest. When things aren’t going to plan, leading feels like a slog.

It’s defeating and exhausting.

I’ve been here many times. Sometimes the market just isn’t right, the product didn’t land or the client is a challenge.

But no matter the cause, the leader sets the tone.

We recommend leaders do the following when things aren’t going to plan:

1. Honestly recognize what isn’t working

2. Take responsibility – no matter what the cause

3. Explain the real implications

4. Clarify the vision

5. Find the pivot ...with your team

6. Clarify the new expected results (reforecast!)

These may seem obvious…but so often leaders don’t address all 6 components.

#2 gets people the most. Take responsibility for what’s happening. Even if it does not feel like it’s ‘your’ issue.

You are the leader. It is your issue.

Great leaders place no blame. The entire company owns the results when they are good and when they are bad.

“We haven’t succeeded.’’ It’s always a ‘we.’

Leading during challenging times can be hard. But arguing with reality and placing blame makes it harder.

These steps are grounded in facing reality head on and working through failure as a team.

BauerHouse Coaching

1:1 Development for New & Executive Leaders

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