Leadership Development During a Recession

We are in the midst of a tough economy, a recession. That makes it functional if not easy to ignore our responsibilities as leaders to invest and develop employees within our organization. Sure times are tough. Recently I had a CEO say to me:

“Rick, what happens if we continue to invest in leadership development and the employee leaves?”

My answer was simple, although I can’t take credit for it since I heard the answer at a seminar years ago.

“Jim”, I replied, “What if you don’t invest in their development and they stay?”

Listen, times are tough. Some of you may already be facing economic crisis. Keep in mind that as a leader you don’t create crisis. But, a crisis can create leaders. Now is the time to leverage the current economic crisis to enhance leadership development within your company. Ask yourself these questions:

o What kind of example are you setting during these tough economic times? The majority of your employees have probably never experienced a recession.

o What kind of knowledge or experience are you passing down?

o Are you living up to your responsibility to have a personal impact on leadership development within the organization?

o What kind of mentor have you been?

o Are you allowing your employees to stretch – to fail – to grow?

o Are you empowering and demonstrating faith and trust in your employees?

Leadership Responsibility

The meaningful to being an effective leader is the ability to influence the influencers. You have to touch people in such a way that they can reach out and touch other people. You alone will not maximize success during this recession. It takes an complete team. However, it’s up to you to make sure you have developed that team to reach their personal maximum possible. Leadership isn’t something you learn from a book or a college course. It is developed over time. You can’t inject it into an employee but you can enhance their leadership skills by your personal guidance and mentoring. Inspire greatness in others is a phrase often used to define leadership responsibility. This isn’t the easiest challenge you will ever confront. possible leaders need time to learn from their own failures; to comprehend consequences and develop scar tissue. Correction is not rejection and constructive feedback is an effective coaching tool. If you suddenly have an epiphany and decide you should become a mentor and start developing your team — it’s too late. However, if you have been cognizant of the need for leadership and have invested in employee development, you have an advantage over many of your competitors. Now is the time to leverage that advantage.

Leveraging Development

possible leaders are recognized as already having the basic tools. These tools include intelligence, integrity, character and a moral value system for doing the right thing. The rest of the formula can be developed. That formula includes the ability to become a strategic thinker. Creating a vision that deals with the future in addition as the present considering both internal and external challenges. One of the most basic skills that need to be developed is the ability to recognize talent in others. This skill set also requires the intuitive mindset to recognize poor performance and the ability to weed out those that can not meet the challenges necessary to maximize success. “Weed the Garden” before the flowers become overgrown with poor performance and resentment…

As a leader you can not provide to allow your organization to experience a leadership vacuum during economic turmoil. As a leader you are called upon to make unpleasant decisions during these economic times. You may confront unpalatable choices However; those employees that keep committed to the company’s success will recognize and respect the necessity for those decisions as long as you are fair and consistent in your actions. It requires courage and a strong stomach. The job that leaders have is difficult, and there are increasingly few people capable of doing it. That makes it already more important that you continue investing in leadership development.

The absolutely best way to maximize your company’s success is to have people working for you that are better than you are; people that compliment your strengths and negate your personal weaknesses. This is impossible if you can’t set your ego aside and realize that developing talent in other people makes you personally a much more effective leader. Having that kind of emotional self-confidence is vital to leaders. You and your company will never become perfect. But, you can be passionately committed to pursuing excellence.


“Becoming a confidant-leading by the use of past examples and experiences.”

After all, mentoring is providing guidance, sustain and training to expedite the development of someone who has the possible to become an effective leader. And consequently, mentoring helps define one’s purpose, values, skills and rare talents. . In reality, actual experiences and what’s learned from those experiences is a meaningful part of the learning course of action. Mentoring is also basic to this experienced based learning. There aren’t many successful people in life who haven’t had the help of someone along the way. That help may have appeared in the form of a role form, the sustain of a particular group, a personal friend and confidant or a hands-on mentor.

Mentoring involves commitment and a long-term relationship that an experienced leader makes to sustain the specialized development of a protégé. This relationship can be a formal or an informal course of action. However, since this course of action is so valuable, many companies look for ways to create formal mentoring programs. The bottom line is that it’s really all about leadership development. Mentoring can take the form of challenging assignments that create rare opportunities to gain experience in specific leadership areas.

Plan Success — Not Failure

These days it seems the message being sent to everyone is how to survive in this turbulent economy. If you are a true leader you are looking for ways to thrive. It’s hard to escape the news of economic downturns; lay offs, and stock market fluctuations. It’s what you do with that information that will set you except the rest. If you’re a person that allows this kind of information to affect your daily thinking and decision making, it’s time for you to turn off the TV and turn on your creative mindset. Get tuned into the solutions and stop focusing on the problems.

An economic downturn is not the end all be all, in fact all it method is things are changing. Solution based thinking is a rule leadership skill. It’s time to leverage your leadership skills and the leadership skills you continue to develop in your management team. Get ahead of the game and don’t allow your company to be a victim of it.

If your mindset is simply the desire to just survive this economic cycle and you are hoping you can outlast the storm, you are truly planning for failure. Your mindset will become the mindset of your team. You are the leader. Your thoughts are powerful. They will show by any kind of front you may characterize. Times are tough but the sky isn’t falling. So start thinking and acting in such a way that you can gain market proportion in any economic climate. You want to thrive not just survive.

Live up to your responsibilities of being the leader and focus on the development of leadership throughout your organization. Leadership creates success. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish if you have surrounded yourself with real leadership possible and you and your team actively seeks leadership development as a chief competence.

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