Leading Teams Through Times of Struggle AKA The Suck

Leading Teams Through Times of Struggle AKA The Suck

As organizations, leaders, and teams, we are facing times of significant change and struggle. Let me tell you, and it’s no mystery, in periods of chaos, we still have businesses to run, customers to serve, revenue to generate and bills to pay. In fact, it’s our responsibility to keep our team players gainfully employed and support our organization through these challenging times. Leading teams through struggle is a tough skillset, but it can be learned, developed, and mastered.

In my experience, during struggles of the past, we tried our best to focus on how we could help and what we could control — our attitudes and our commitment to compassionate service for one another and our customers. We embraced an attitude of gratitude, finding any morsels of appreciation we could scrounge up. I worked diligently with my team leaders to make sure we supported our people and one another. Attitude reflects leadership (courtesy of Remember The Titans), and our mindset as leaders directly impacts our culture and organizational performance.

The greatest lesson during any difficulty is that we have to suck it up and get out there and lead our people. They’re looking to us for leadership, hope, strength, comfort, compassion, and encouragement. We need to be there for them, for our customers, and for our communities.

Balancing self-care with the responsibilities of leadership is also critically important. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself so that you can show up in the best possible way and be ready to serve your people. When times are tough, it can be challenging to manage our attitudes. What works for me is based on my personality and preferences, so knowing myself is critically important. If you’re new to this brand and to me, I am motivated by results, action, enthusiasm, challenge, and also collaboration. Knowing that provides me with a roadmap of what I need to do in order to adjust my attitude and navigate myself and my team away from the suck.

Of course there are also strategic and process-oriented ways of leading teams through struggle. You can read more in the From Bad to Badass book, but I’ll give you a quick overview:

    • Start by defining the suck or diagnosing your current situation.
    • Then move to setting goals, i.e. remain aware of what you can control, influence, conquer, or improve.
    • Craft action steps to get you closer to your goals. Perhaps start small and focus on just one simple action, then go from there.

Ultimately, you can leverage The Suck to positively impact team performance, and here’s how: when spirits are low, you have the opportunity to ask your team to be part of the solution. Invite them to collaborate on goal setting, problem-solving, and collectively designing action plans. Put their talented minds, hearts and souls to productive use to create positive change.

Curious to learn more about this leadership lesson? Check out our Lesson 8 toolbox, or reach out directly for some 1-1 guidance based on what you’re experiencing and your goals.