Starting a new leadership role is a thrilling experience, but let’s face it, it can be daunting, particularly during times of economic uncertainty. It’s not just about making strategic decisions; it’s about doing what’s best for the company and its employees. Perhaps you’re one of those leaders that exhibit fearlessness and thrive in challenging environments. For the rest of us, there’s still an opportunity to make a positive impact and drive change, no matter how tough things may seem. Whether you perform exceptionally under pressure or need some support, these unprecedented times require leaders who can steer the ship through choppy waters. Keep reading to find out how to maximize your impact in a new executive role within a company going through a period of economic instability.
2023: A Challenging Start for New Executives That Presents an Opening for Success
The economic projections for 2023 keep fluctuating. This means executives in a new role must embrace a slightly uncertain economic future. Although we might enter a recession, seasoned leaders understand that this presents a chance to emerge stronger and more capable by embracing the challenge and leveraging the experience to develop invaluable knowledge and outstanding accomplishments.
What You Must Know About Leading a Company Through Uncertainty
Executives starting in a new role need to be agile and flexible in their approach to leadership. While focusing on results represents an important goal, it’s no longer the only priority. The top priority needed to succeed in demanding economic times is efficiency.
Today, achieving your goals and objectives with the lowest possible resource usage trumps the pursuit of growth at all costs. Now, more than ever, your strategic mind must be thoughtful about allocating your time, budget, and human resources. Developing creative and alternative solutions to meet your objectives cost-effectively will win the day.
While time-consuming, it presents an exciting opportunity to modify former ways of thinking to embrace a more human-centric approach to leadership. Prioritizing efficiency and focusing on your team’s needs will allow you to help them weather uncertainty and emerge stronger than before.
Here’s our advice on navigating these challenging times in a new executive role to come out ahead as a more successful leader.
- Communicate Honestly, Openly, and With Empathy
Clear and genuine communication represents the initial ingredient necessary to create an environment of successful leadership while navigating workforce reductions. In your new role, you have a unique opportunity to set an updated tone for communication within your team. The prioritization of transparency, empathy, and clarity will help you establish trust while building team morale. Ensure your management team is trained to communicate news and updates with compassion and sensitivity. Setting the right tone and providing solid support will establish a culture of trust and resilience that helps your organization thrive, even in the face of uncertainty.
- Acknowledge the Challenging Circumstances
The famous author, Maya Angelou, said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
It’s not uncommon for employees to look to their leaders during precarious economic times for guidance and reassurance. Being transparent about the company’s overall financial outlook is essential, as it goes a long way in helping your team to understand the context of the current situation while also increasing your team’s motivation to find solutions. Ensure you’re visible to employees and available to answer challenging questions and provide the necessary support. This will give your team confidence while demonstrating your commitment to focusing on practical solutions for the entire team. Leaders make tough calls and need to inspire and support their teams to achieve success by overcoming obstacles.
- Maintain High Employee Morale
As a new leader in an organization, it’s imperative to keep your employees in the loop. Employees are prone to speculation when things seem uncertain or out of control and when leaders don’t communicate crucial changes and plans with them. To avoid a decline in morale and productivity, along with losing their confidence, always being as open as possible is essential. A great way to gauge how you’re doing is to regularly encourage feedback where employees can express their concerns or provide valuable input. Take these suggestions and implement the most effective ones to show that they can make a difference and that their contributions are valued.
- Be There for People and Introduce Initiatives That Ensure No One Feels Left Out
Challenging workplace circumstances can trigger low employee morale and make people feel isolated and unable to connect with the company’s values and missions. Therefore, the arrival of a new executive can cause mixed feelings, which is why you must show your commitment to being there for people, addressing their needs, and introducing initiatives that bring more clarity and connectedness.
- Promote Agility and Resilience
Agility, adaptability, and resilience are among the best values and goals you can promote as a new leader to navigate a company successfully. Introduce programs and strategies that help employees learn how to adapt to challenging situations more efficiently and thrive in such an environment.
- Foster Actions That Help Employees Reinforce a Sense of Belonging and Purpose
Every successful leader should be able to inspire people, make them feel safe, and ensure they feel a sense of purpose and place in the company. That requires fostering meaningful projects and assignments, a tight-knit community, and an inclusive space that doesn’t discriminate against anyone.
- Offer Helpful Resources and Support
Prioritize programs and actions that tackle employee well-being, mental health, and wellness. Invest in resources and support that help people navigate tumultuous times, such as counseling services, telemedicine, paid leave, resilience platforms, etc.
- Establish a Compelling and Clear Vision
Sometimes executives in new leadership positions must reinforce or revamp a company’s vision and short- and long-term goals, especially when taking charge during challenging periods, such as a recession. It’s crucial to demonstrate that you clearly understand attainable goals and can effectively manage and inspire employees, providing them with a much-needed sense of security and certainty.
- Provide Greater Flexibility and L&D Opportunities
Employees often need greater flexibility during difficult times, so encourage them to express what works best for them and how to structure schedules and teams. But also provide more well-rounded Learning & Development (L&D) programs and upskilling and reskilling opportunities, as this will remind people they can grow and have a future in the company.
Becoming a leader in a new organization is never easy, and waiting for the “perfect” time will only delay your career advancement. Challenges are inevitable, but that’s precisely what makes this role so exhilarating and rewarding. How you handle the obstacles you encounter will define your leadership legacy. Approach these difficulties with empathy, clarity, and unwavering commitment. Successfully navigating these tough times will allow you to establish yourself as an executive capable of overcoming any challenge. Embrace the complexity and beauty of this new role and become the leader you were always meant to be.
Did you know that SucceedSmart members who land a new job through the platform receive 6 FREE months of executive coaching to help them transition into a new role? This is one of the many benefits enjoyed by SucceedSmart members. Apply for membership here.