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Leading During Tough Times

Your Crew Needs You

These days, being a leader is harder than ever. Every organization, large and small, is feeling the effects of the economy on people’s pockets, emotions and health. Undoubtedly, if you are in any sort of leadership position, you witness it. Whether you are the head of your household, an officer in your REALTOR Association, a company manager or CEO, or the chairperson of a a committee of some sort, you feel it. Stress levels are high right now and your challenge, in addition to seeing the organization through the inevitable change that economic realities bring, is to see your people through to the other side of this seemingly endless but definitely temporary storm, in one piece and ready to embrace all the good that the future holds.

Every leader has their own style and possesses certain strengths and weaknesses that affect how they lead and the decisions they make. There are certain characteristics that all leaders should possess, but we all have distinct and unique gifts that we rely on in our interactions. Some of us are people people, who shine when the chips are down by listening, comforting and hand-holding those they support. There is a great deal to be said for truly relating and empathizing with people’s problems. Others are more analytic types who evaluate situations and present facts and information in an effort to help people wrap their minds around realities. The goal here is to empower the ranks with a sense of perspective. Ideally, leaders will combine these approaches in a way that effectively galvanizes and instills confidence in those they lead.

Buoying Spirits & Navigating Rough Waters

After all, the worst part of the tough times is the fear it sometimes inspires in people. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of facing obstacles alone, all kinds of fear rears its ugly head in times like these. Alleviate the fear and magic can happen. Embolden those you lead with a sense of having a plan and being in control (read this article for help with that!). Keep a positive attitude to help restore others’ confidence. Yes, it may be challenging to do this when our own fears threaten our personal comfort, but do it we must for the sake of those looking to us for cues.

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That is not to say that we need to pretend everything is peachy. Your credibility as a leader is contingent upon you being in touch with the realities faced by those throughout the organization. Don’t be afraid to show a glimpse of worry now and then. Being real, along with assurances that ‘we’re all in this together,’ can lift the spirits of your group. It is times like these that strong leadership inspires deep loyalty and trust throughout an organization. And when times get better you will reap huge rewards.

Written By

Lisa sells residential real estate in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern PA, and authors The Poconos Real Estate Blog. Being a strong believer in community participation, she currently serves as President of a 1700 home Property Owners' Association and Secretary of the Board of the local REALTOR Association for 2009. Her most challenging and fulfilling role, though, is that of Mom to two teenage girls, and her main hope for them is that they learn to appreciate the abundant joys of a life lived with a positive attitude. You can connect with Lisa on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.



  1. Ken Brand

    February 17, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Insightful post Lisa.

    Today and the foreseeable future, the advantage will be mental, attitudinal, inspirational and the ability to get things done right and well with a smile.

    Everybody has “stuff” nobody has “you”.


  2. Mike Andrew

    February 17, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    Hi Lisa,

    Great thought starter, the effect management can have on a business is immense. Just observing a destructive management environment in my own company right now that is destroying a good culture and removing effective line managers due to a “I have to control” mentality.



  3. Lisa Sanderson

    February 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    It flowed today, I hope you like it: (on Leadership)

  4. sheilabragg

    February 17, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    Leading During Tough Times: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMISE that the ShamWow gu..

  5. Vicki Moore

    February 17, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    “That is not to say that we need to pretend everything is peachy.” I’m glad you brought this up. I get tired of hearing the advice that we should always say everything’s great. It isn’t always great. Isn’t being real more important? I’m not talking about being an emotional vampire, but real is real.

  6. Jose Ramirez

    February 18, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    nice—>Leading During Tough Times #feedly

  7. Matt Stigliano

    February 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Don’t be afraid to show a glimpse of worry now and then. Being real, along with assurances that ‘we’re all in this together,’ can lift the spirits of your group.

    Lisa – How right you are with those sentences. As you read in my post, I panicked a bit and felt a bit odd about the situation at my office…my head ran off and made its own snap judgments. When I saw the broker though and knew he was doing what he could to pull things together into a tighter more responsive position, I knew that we were on the right path. We had two meetings in the past two days (since this happened) and I think there’s a sudden difference in the company. A group with a sense of purpose and a certain pride in who we are (as a company) and what we do. The broker made the right move and I think we will be a better, tighter group for it.

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