It is easy to follow a “winner.” And it is easy to follow when everything is chugging along nicely and the organization is experiencing success, growth, profitability, everyone feels valued and appreciated by their leader.
So, what do we do when our leader isn’t leading us in a positive direction of if there are not positive and measurable results? That is a very different situation, isn’t it?
Who is at fault?
That is probably the first thing that jumps to most of our minds. (OK, maybe that is only in my mind.) And I suppose there is a time and there is a place for that kind of an assessment. But, what if we are in a crisis mode? Then that is not the time to be assigning blame. That is the time to rally around the leader, get things fixed, and get the ship turned around.
What is MY responsibility at this point?
Reach out to the leader on a personal level — Leadership can be a lonely endeavor. Often times, leaders don’t feel that there is anyone out there that understands the things that they face and the things that they are experiencing. Reach out to them on a personal level. You may need to keep that approach somewhat professional. But offer yourself to them as a friend and not a foe and give them a chance to offload some of the burden that they are carrying.
Bear their burdens — One of the outcomes of the personal approach is that you can offer and they can accept your willingness to help them bear some of the burdens. That alone may do wonders for your leader. They may be exhausted from the struggle. And a timely offer to carry some of the load may be just what is needed.
Remain faithful to the organization — If you are sensing that there is a problem, others are as well. It is at this point that many will fall away or lose their motivation to continue. Discouragement is highly contagious. You can be the shot of adrenaline or the antibiotic to fight off discouragement by remaining faithful and actively working to continue to build the organization.
Be positive — This seems, at first, to be very similar to “Remain faithful”. But, you can be faithful yet negative and discouraged. Make every effort to be positive in your approach and positive about the ultimate outcome. Growth will come. Profitability will return. And this current cycle will end. Approach this time with a positive attitude and we will all get through it quicker!
What will this do for our leader?
Maybe nothing. But that is not why we should do it. We should do these things because they are the right thing to do. At the end of the day, we may be stuck with a particular leader for a particular season of life. We can fight it and maybe we can force a change. We can leave the organization in search of a leader that we find to be more effective and inspiring to us. Or, we can accept the challenge to work with this particular leader and try to help them recover and build upon this current experience and become a better leader because of the experience and because of the way that their followers reacted and responded during the difficult times.