How To Be a Bridge Over Troubled Water

Leading both a company and those involved with the company can be a stressful task, but this problem is made worse when you’re trying to lead others through difficult times. However, as an executive it’s your job not only to lead, but to ensure that those you are leading remain comfortable and confident in your ability. If you’re not confident that you are that individual, here are some tips on how to overcome troubled times and tricky situations.

The Benefits of Problems
Believe it or not, there are actually several benefits to be had by an executive encountering problems. We do not often glimpse our true strengths and weaknesses during good times; it’s only when leading becomes difficult and times are tough that we discover how strong we truly are. Perceive bad times as a test rather than a torment – a positive outlook is the first step in the right direction.

Step One: Confidence
The first step to being an excellent leader is to be confident in your decisions and the direction that you are taking. If you are not confident in yourself, the plan that you have formed or the actions that you are taking – how can you expect others to be confident in your ability?

At the very least we ask that you appear calm, collected and confident at all times as causing others to panic on top of the situation you are already in will simply cause more stress and will burden you further.

Step Two: Formulate a Plan
The second step is for you to create a realistic plan of how you are going to either weather or change the situation that you, your company or your employees are in. If you cannot change the circumstances you should instead plan for how you are going to survive the worst of it and what you are going to do if the worst scenario occurs.

You need to spend a large amount of time thinking over this plan and if possible talk to those around you that are more experienced or perhaps have a different viewpoint to you. You need to ensure that you’ve covered every angle and that there are no flaws in what you have planned.

Step Three: Discussion
The next step is for you to discuss aspects of the problem at hand with your employees and those that may be affected by the problem. It’s essential that you reassure those around you whilst being realistic; do not promise a fix to the problem but do explain how you plan to go about changing the circumstances and improving conditions for others.

Although you may not have yet put your plan in to action, discussing what you are going to do and what you hope to achieve will ease the worries of others for a short period of time. On the other hand, once you’ve told your employees or colleagues of what you intend to do you can not take too long before beginning the process of amending the situation.

Step Four: Make a Move
The final step is for you to take action to ensure that you can continue to lead your company and your employees through these difficult times; you need to analyse the plan that you have made and evaluate whether or not it still applies. If it’s still applicable you should stick to the plan and adapt it if you need to do so. As an executive and a leader you should listen to the needs of those that rely on you but do not feel obliged to change your plan on their behalf; their suggestions are unlikely to be based on years of experience within a managerial role and so the advice they give may not be suitable or appropriate.

Step Five: Step Back
Once you have begun to carry out your plan we recommend that you take a step back and assess the efficiency of your plan and whether there is anything you can do to improve upon your current performance. This is a crucial aspect of task management and should be taken seriously at all times; if you can’t recognise problems as they arise it may be time for you to appoint another individual to lead the company and the employees.

This is the best way in which you can become a bridge over troubled water and lead both your company and your employees to a brighter future.

Photo credit: Fotolia

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