It’s often said that you don’t show your true colours as a leader until you are forced to make a tough decision. I do believe in this, and that the very essence of leadership is about showing true grit in times of uncertainty and when emotions can get in the way. I tend to think it’s easy when things are going well. As a manager and leader of people, it’s never easy to give the news of budget cuts or even harder to let roles and people go – which is happening a lot these days with the uncertainty of global economic markets. To some, people you work with are literally family, spending over 40 hours a week together. And when you have to be the bearer of bad news it’s never easy. So you appreciate the emotion that can affect people. But how, as a leader, do you pick up the pieces and ensure the rest of your team continues to push ahead with your vision in the face of challenging times?
As a leader you can’t hide behind your decisions. When things change and people depart, there’s always a sense of uncertainty, emotion, shock and confusion. Give people peace of mind and be honest about the what and the why. I think that as a leader a core skill is to be authentic and genuine. Show that as much as you’re a manager and a leader, at the end of the day, you are human. To me that’s when you gain the respect of your peers and your team. As much as it can be daunting, building that “leadership mettle” is a critical step to advancing ones’ career. I can guarantee that in any career, there will always be ups and downs. Enjoy the ups, but make use of the downs. They can be invaluable.
You’ve really got to put things in perspective. Is life fair? No. Of course not. But we’re all dealt the hand we’re given and we have to push on.