Leadership Skills for the Recession.

Recession Leadership Skills

Under New ManagementWe are in the midst of a great transformation in Leadership.  Thoughtful and courageous leaders are asking questions like ‘What leadership traits are necessary to be a great leader in this recession?    What kind of leadership behaviors is appropriate now?   What kind of leadership qualities and skills will we need when we come out of this bad economy?’

These are excellent questions.  I believe that the current events have created a game-breaking opportunity for organizations that are courageous enough to explore and renew the concept of corporate leadership.  This is the perfect moment to identify what the term ‘leadership’ means going forward. We need an understanding of what this next metamorphosis of leadership looks like so that we can begin to rebuild our crumbling economy.

Insightful Leaders are Changing

Insightful leaders are becoming increasingly aware that they cannot any longer behave and communicate in the same way that they have for the decades prior to this financial meltdown. For many years many corporate leaders have operated from status power.  Their leadership behaviors and style of communication sent the message, ‘I have the title of leader…this means I know what I am doing …listen to what I say, treat me with the respect my title demands and you will be rewarded and the company will succeed.

Changing the Leadership ApproachChanging the Approach

This approach no longer works in today’s economic climate where leaders are struggling with an intense demand for higher productivity, performance and profitability.  They are beginning to realize that in order to rise to this challenge they will need to acquire new behavior and communication skills that will enable them to build close relationships with fearful and mistrusting employees and cautious consumers who have lost the lust for spending money and have less money to spend.

The new realities demand that leaders now focus on the leadership qualities that build relationships.  This evolution of the concept of leadership is moving away from status power towards the power of human relationships and human connection.  Leadership in 2009 and beyond is all about knowing how to energize employees; how to give them a vision of greatness; how to build (or is it re-build) their spirit and confidence and spunk and determination.  There is a serious business case for having such skills-dis-spirited people cannot deliver superior results.  Frightened and anxious people cannot optimize their talents.  Stressed people cannot find innovative solutions to the current challenges.  And dis-spirited employees cannot behave in ways that will inspire the customers.

Self Esteem is Important

More than ever before, employees now need leaders who behave in ways that honor their dignity and self-esteem.Self-Esteem   Employees need leaders who speak in ways that give them a sense of the value they bring to the organization and paint an exciting picture of the future.  They need leaders who know that they do not have all the answers and are ready to listen to different ideas and alternative perspectives.  And above all they need leaders whose spirit and authenticity shines through in such a way that the employees feel safe and ready to trust again.

I know that I can tell leaders …’ ladies and gentlemen with all that has happened to our economy you would be well advised to acquire new behavior and communication skills.  Your pre-financial meltdown skills will not take you and your organization successfully through this recession.’  And many may agree intellectually but come Monday morning and they will do what they have always done and get what they have always got.  New leadership behaviors, new ways of interacting and speaking, building strong relationships does not just happen.  It requires dedication to a learning process.

Ask Yourself 2 QuestionsSo here are 2 questions to ask yourself if you are a leader or manager:
Do I agree with the proposition that this is the time for me to revitalize the way I interact with my employees and customers so that I can provide leadership that is relevant to the new economic realities?
If the answer is ‘yes’ then ask yourself, ’What am I doing about this?  When do I begin this learning process?’

Dr Sandy Gluckman’ program, The 6 Skills of Spirited Leadership is available as a series of live teleseminars or as a 3-day classroom seminar.


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