One of the truest tests of leadership happens when the going gets tough. Do leaders revert to old patterns and behaviours? Or, do the leaders stay the course despite how tough it feels.
Returning to the comfort zone
I was working with a leadership team who had made significant improvements to how they lead. Previously, their leadership style had been directive and controlling. They had made incredible changes and their leadership style was now supportive and enabling.
As the team was nearing a big deadline things started to go wrong. The big release was at risk, and the likelihood of hitting the date was starting to slip.
There was pressure coming from senior management to deliver on time. As the pressure mounted there were hints of returning to old and comfortable leadership patterns.
The leaders were trending towards becoming directive and controlling again. Thankfully, through some coaching and support from each other they avoided the slide.
Leaders get out of their comfort zone
When things start going wrong, it is a true test of your leadership.
When you get out of your comfort zone and try something new it will be uncomfortable. You are continually caught in the struggle of being with the discomfort of the unfamiliar, and wanting to retreat to what is tried and true.
Remember the Billy Oceans song “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” It’s a love song about being willing to do whatever it takes to have his love. Climb mountains, cross rivers, and more.
This is what your team needs from you. They need you to be tough and be willing to do what it takes. You are tough and can lead through any crisis. There is no need to revert to old leadership patterns.
You’ve got this. You’re tough.