Leading in a world that is doing more with less

Guest blogger:

An Coppens

An Coppens is an OUBS MBA Alumni and works extensively in the area of leadership development. She published “Leading the boss in the mirror” to assist leaders with self-awareness around stress and work life balance.

In today’s economic climate most leaders are asked to perform the same duties and then some with less resources. Smaller teams, budgets cut, but ever increasing targets are the order of the day. You may not like it as a person, yet as a leader you are asked to put on the happy ‘we can do it’ game face and inspire your crew to higher levels of achievement. What’s more all of this tends to come down as a directive instead of you being an active part in the decision making process. The good news is: you are not alone!

ThinkstockSo how can you once again turn on your spin-doctor hat and create a message that you feel you can deliver in line with your own values? Most leaders make two interesting assumptions namely that as a leader you are in an isolated place and that you have to dress up the bad news in order to keep motivation high.

In my view the only way forward is to be truthful and honest! Most leaders underestimate the intelligence and resilience of their teams. I encourage you to share the real picture and look for input from your team on how you can make this new reality work. The truth is you are in it together, whether you or they like it or not, so you are not alone.

Whatever way you act will be constantly assessed, however, you do have a choice in how you lead. Your closest followers will look at your actions, your in-actions as well as the things you say or don’t say. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your emotions (I am not talking about crying or anger, but a simple expression of disappointment or how you were angry at first possibly). Then ask for their support, ideas and opinions and work together to come up with an action plan for the way forward.

The key to being a transformational leader in this time is to show that you are willing to guide your team to taking the first step forward and support them in that process. Show that you are behind them and that you also see hope and better opportunities down the line. Keep encouraging your team with the new vision and keep encouraging the first steps towards change. Every complex situation has always been addressed by taking a first step in the direction of resolving it, even if the full path to resolution isn’t visible at first. It takes a transformational leader to encourage and guide their team in order to achieve what it takes to overcome a complex scenario.

An Coppens is conducting research for her next book on sustainable leadership, and would greatly appreciate leaders to complete book research questionnaire on the following website: http://ancoppens.com/book-research/

2 thoughts on “Leading in a world that is doing more with less

  1. Do appreciate the honesty and values angles. Conventional wisdom seems to argue that leaders require the trust of their followers, but trust is a two-way street; great leaders should IMHO trust their followers.

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