We are at war with the economy, fighting a rising unemployment rate, a quickly declining stock market and whispers of a depression. As organizational managers and executives, how do we lead our troops to safety?!@!
Maybe we should turn to those who best know the circumstances of uncertainty and chaos — the military. In Harvard Business Publishing’s Frontline Leadership series, one article talks about leading in this type of environment. When Donovan Campbell, an infantry platoon commander, was deployed to Iraq for the second time, he was part of a “well-organized convoy” and was extensively trained for his surroundings; however, he still found himself unprepared for the realities he faced. Similarly, many managers and executives are highly trained, but they still may not be prepared to lead their forces from the trenches of a recession. As a result, organizations need to teach their leaders how to lead in these uncharted times.
Campbell wrote that “servant-leadership is the only leadership model that truly inspires a team, because servant-leadership demonstrates that you, as a leader, put your people’s welfare ahead of your own.” Whether this works in your organization or not, your leaders must be open, honest and up-front with their employees. Then they can begin to work together as a team to increase efficiency.
Organizations that train their leaders to adapt to this recession and lead their employees through it will emerge victorious, while their competitors who don’t will spend, time, money and resources rebuilding themselves once the destruction is over.