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At some point, every business goes through a difficult period. Leaders will have to make difficult decisions on how to improve their situation, but they must also be very mindful of the impact on employees’ morale. Low morale can be one of the most detrimental things to a business.

Leadership is both a privilege and a responsibility, especially when a challenge presents itself. As the leader, it is your responsibility to look out for your teams and business during trying times. People will look to you for guidance and support on how to handle these situations. It is essential that you create an atmosphere of openness and ongoing support for your team.

Your team’s morale may be at an all-time low, making it your responsibility as their manager to raise their spirits and get them focused on their duties. This won’t be an easy task. It’ll be difficult to see the positives when everything appears to be falling apart. However, it is during these times when your team will need a reliable leader the most in order to pull through.

You set the tone as the business owner.

As the leader, you set the tone and the example for your team. Your energy and attitude will be mirrored by them, so it is important to stay positive and focused on the goals at hand. Show your team that you are taking the situation as a growth opportunity rather than a challenge. Be open and honest with them about the situation and its potential effects on the company. Encourage your team and instill in them a sense of optimism and hope for the future. Leading them by your own example and showing them that you have faith in the business, your team will be inspired to do the same. The best way to lead is to lead by example.

You are a pillar during tough times.

When times are tough, a business leader needs to be a pillar of strength that keeps everything together. Without a strong, centralized leader, teams may struggle to face difficult situations and become less productive. It is easy for morale to suffer during challenging times, whether it be due to a pandemic, a financial crisis, or intense competition. It is only with strong leadership that companies can overcome such crises. Encourage team members and help them to focus on immediate goals. Make yourself available for any requests or questions they may have, and be approachable to ensure your team can work efficiently with clear objectives.

Communicate more, and communicate often.

It is important for you to be visible during difficult times. An important part of being visible is having effective and clear communication. Let your employees know the truth of the situation and the plan to work through the hard times as a team. This will give them direction and objectives to work towards. It is also important to keep up regular communication to create a sense of transparency and normalcy. If management talks behind closed doors, it can create a feeling of uncertainty and fear among employees. Open and honest communication can help to put these fears to rest and make them feel secure in their work, which will motivate them to work harder.

Outsource where possible to focus on the core problem.

When business is growing, nothing is easy. In times of crisis, the situation gets even more complicated. To tackle the issues at hand, it is important for the entire team to come together and work together. However, it is not always possible to dedicate all your (and your team’s) time to the critical work. In such a circumstance, it is wise to outsource some of the tasks to someone who can help you keep the business running while you attend to the issues at hand. Though it might be counterintuitive, it is actually beneficial. This allows the core team to focus on overcoming the crisis without any distractions. At the same time, the business keeps functioning, and nothing is overlooked.

Reorganize priorities and realign goals.

The priorities of a business and its teams can shift depending on its scale and growth. During times of crisis, the goal shifts from growth to surviving and managing the crisis. To handle this effectively, it is important to provide guidance on the immediate priorities and how to tackle them. It is not possible to manage everything at once, like before. Therefore, it is important to list out the tasks that need immediate attention and the ones that can be handled later. This will help the team members understand their objectives more clearly and work towards resolving the issues systematically. This is also the time for the leader to step up and realign the teams with the long-term goals of the company. Talk your teams through the strategies to get back on track, the goals set, and the path to achieving them.