LESSONS FROM TOUGH TIMES
The supremacy of any person, leader or an organisation, is never a straight line but rather littered with bumps, obstacles and challenges along the way. The marks build your character and ability to deal with others and tough situations. Emotions must never be allowed to swing. These two elements combined are the key to weathering difficulties and finding success on the other side.
I have been through various rough patches personally and professionally. As I pen this down, I tried to memorise my past experiences and the last three very tough days. Though the situation is under control, but still lot has to be done. For people managers, I have taken an half an hour break, and putting my thoughts in black and white. During these testing times, I remind myself that my family, my team, my leaders, my workers and me-myself, would want success. During this learning curve, communication is a key differentiator.
It is very difficult to be positive, focused in tough time. It is not impossible though. Let me list down a few top points which I have short listed to success continuously in tough time:
- Stay calm and focused: it is of prime importance, not to lose your patience and cool, sometimes even when the situation could have been better. Comforting reality and doing it early, is very important. Critically, winners never quit and always have three solutions to every problem or circumstances. Never quit. Quitters are never winners. We normally let it go, when we are near the completion stage.
- Subject matter knowledge: as a human resources or people leader, you come across various IR issues, major safety related accidents, or some other one off incident, apart from day to day normal fire fighting. I am not asking you to remember every law or compliance by heart. But on the other hand basic knowledge is important. If you have faced a strange situation like an example of union strike or fatal accident, please share the knowledge of how it was handled. Would help some HR enthusiasts grow. It is important for them, as they may not have a first-hand experience of the same.
Communicate and be transparent: transparent communication is important. It can be a real difference between a great and good leader and organisation. In tough times you need to be with your team, on phone, personally on shop floor. Be there as a mentor, keep them engaged. Your priority need to be your people.
- Positive mind set is half the battle won: I am firm believer that, when in trouble, we move into safe guard and negative frame of mind. Positive mind set enables us to take calculated risks and is always open to change. Smile, be positive, even in tough times.
- Growing through experience: great things take time. It can be completed overnight. To fight with a tough situation, you need a lot of team work, concentrated efforts, etc.
- Calculated risks: sometimes we are required to take the tough call and be open to take
some calculated risks. You need to keep your mind open to change. You team needs to support you with facts and figures when you take such risks. Also taking responsibility will change mind set and situations.
- Big promises without results fail: showing the results is very important. It is stronger than big talks. With no results to show, you may end up being a matter of no serious contention. It is great to make plan, but it is more important to implement it, get a buy in at the grass root level
- Dealing with current correctly: if we deal with present correctly, future will be automatically secured. You will have examples to prove and nothing more is required. You would have won the trust of your people too. They are like washing machine, you are turned, knocked but you are sure to be more cleaner when you are out
- Pain helps you grow: no pain-no gain, is a world renowned saying. It is so true. You need to give your blood also, sometimes in form of sweat. It is in every field, whether personal, sports or organisation. Gather time to learn from the experience and move on
- You are not alone: As I stated earlier, last three days have been very tough. I have realised one very important point. If you are right and your intent is right for your people, then you will not be alone. I am telling you, I was shell shocked how my team, helped the local officials, get rid of the mob too. There is always, if you are right, something to be thankful for.
Great people leaders inspire and motivate not only teams but their customers and investors. They weather difficulties and create flexibility for the organisation and surprising loyalty from their people. Tough times do not last, tough people do.
o Dr Deepak Malhotra