Experiencing fear and uncertainty is unavoidable in life — but, boy, has 2020 really taken it up a notch. The challenging events of the past six months have tested our collective mettle like never before, leaving many people highly stressed and off their game professionally. But the fact is, companies still need to succeed, to lead in crisis, despite the circumstances. Teams still need to meet and exceed business goals, even when other elements are competing for their focus.
In moments of chaos, stress and extreme pressure, how can leaders continue motivating teams and encouraging them to excel? How can you effectively lead in crisis? The most effective leaders learn to look fear in the eye, move past it and take action anyway. The ability to overcome fear and confidently take action is the key to engaging, motivating and leading successful teams—whether during times of crisis, or business as usual.
That’s because the fundamentals of solid leadership never change.
When fear levels are jacked and the pressure is on, here are three things fearless leaders do to lead high-performance teams:
1. They Reevaluate the Definition of Success
To lead fearlessly when the unexpected occurs, reestablish what success looks like right now to you and your team, while still reaffirming your vision for the future. The environment is changing so rapidly that the numbers or sales metrics you established two years ago, or even a month ago, may not be applicable at the beginning of this week. It’s ok to let go of your previous definition of “normal” and embrace the demands of this new, ever-evolving reality. Be willing to adapt and redefine success as needed. But no matter what, even when leading in a crises, don’t lose sight of your overall vision.
That’s what will continue guiding you to success, even if your roadmap changes.
2. They Create A Culture of Courage
Have the courage to see the possibilities for the future, and then create a culture of courage within your team, yourself included. How do you accomplish this? Invest in training! By investing in your team’s and your own personal and professional development, you will emerge from any period of uncertainty that much stronger and more equipped to handle new challenges in the future. Even if you feel like you’re hanging on by a thread right now (and, trust me, I get it!), investing in your team’s capacity for courage is worth it.
Those who continue to learn, grow and look for new opportunities and new ways to do business will continue thriving and remain engaged and hopeful.
3. They Develop a Bias for Action
Here’s a critical leadership secret for you: Action. Conquers. Fear. It’s true! The real key to achieving any goal, in life or in business, is to DO BIG, not just dream big. By developing a habit of acting, doing, trying, you can overcome the fear that’s holding you back from achieving great things and spark a momentum that will inspire others to follow.
And when you learn to take action, even in situations where you feel struck, frustrated, intimidated or even terrified, you increase your ability to get through tough situations. There’s no better way to build the tenacity you need to lead effectively than to develop a predisposition for taking action. Bold, fearless action drives success. So just keep going.
This high-pressure climate isn’t going to let up any time soon — this is going to be a grind. Everyone, regardless of rank or title, needs to be looking for ways to encourage others to succeed and let team members know they are fully supported during this time. Business leaders who succeed, whose teams achieve high-performance despite difficult circumstances, will redefine success, develop a culture of courage, take action, and then just keep going.