Research & Insights – Leading Constructively in Tough Times


“Is it too hard to be constructive in these tough economic times?” We have heard many leaders ask this question or worse still resort to the “tough” leadership style they believe is necessary to see them through these tough economic times.

In this edition of our Research and Insights newsletter we explore and acknowledge how it is hard and yet essential to have the courage to use constructive leadership during these tough economic times. Remain constructive and see how people do more with less, go the extra mile and bring their personal best. Experience how being constructive is different from being positive. Bringing realism to your conversations is vital and this means looking at both the positive and the negative. In this edition we show you how to use constructive leadership behaviour when the going gets tough.

All business leaders we speak to from a variety of backgrounds and levels of experience acknowledge the “holding pattern” we have gone into – decisions are being postponed, delayed and even if they are made implementation is generally slow. And this is happening with the undercurrent of cost saving – and for many organisations this undercurrent is very obvious and for others it is hidden deep and sweeps you up and out when you least expect it.

The importance of vulnerability during tough times, as a leader

“The courage to be vulnerable means taking off the armour we use to protect ourselves, putting down the weapons that we use to keep people at a distance, showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

This is exactly what we need our leaders to be exhibiting during tough times.

What leading constructively looks and sounds like

We easily bounce around the term ‘leading constructively’ and assume it is universally understood. But in terms of actions and behaviours, what does leading constructively actually mean for a leader?
How people bunker down during tough times.

Too often during tough times we see leaders bunkering down with the aim of doing more stuff themselves to create success for the business. When leaders have nothing positive to say they say nothing at all, and the silence exacerbates the uncertainty and fear that many people are feeling.

Thought for the Quarter

When I view the business world and in particular the leaders of business I find that, like in life generally, people allow themselves to be led by their emotions. Now for most, that’s not particularly revelatory or indeed rocket science but what it means when it comes to leading constructively in tough times is that a courageous leader would be equipped with the ability to be emotionally resilient. (Note RESILIENT not RESISTANT).

Which means that they would be able to fully experience the emotions moving through them that are sparked by what is going on around them but are plugged into a deeper, more grounded and still place inside which is un-rockable.

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