Continuing with my action plan for handling adversity:
2. Have A Plan
When things don’t go your way or adversity strikes, it’s usually going to be emotional. It’s not going to feel good. You have to start by handling the emotions. As we talked about in step 1, evaluate the situation honestly and see reality for what it is. Give yourself a chance to let the emotion go, and wherever possible try not to make emotional decisions. You can easily end up making a bad situation worse. Take your time to address the emotion of the situation, and then very it so you can make a plan.
Your team needs to know you have a plan to get them out of this situation, and you have to give it to them in detail. So take the time to write it out, discuss it with your staff, and run it by others that you trust. Get plenty of feedback on your plan before you present it to your team.
It could be a 3-game losing streak. It could be a season-ending injury to one of your best players. It could be self-inflicted, like significant suspensions to good players for violating your standards. Regardless of what you are dealing with, your team needs to know you have a plan to move forward, and you have to be able to explain it to them in detail. So prepare that plan before you get in front of them.
There are two essential management elements to handling adversity – task management and people management. Task management is about the goal you are trying to achieve and the organization needed to get you there. The plan and the feedback on the plan are major elements of managing the task. What are we trying to do, and how are we going to do it? You need to answer those questions for your team as their leader. When it comes to task management, it’s crucial that you focus on what you can do, and what you can control.
The people management element is just as important. This is about making sure your team is okay. It’s about listening and providing candor. It’s about encouraging your team to open up so you can understand how they are feeling about your situation. It’s about connection, motivation, and encouragement. A major part of managing your people in an adverse situation is how you communicate. And a big part of how you communicate is your willingness to listen.
Organizing your plan when adversity strikes is extremely important. As the leader you have to provide direction. By focusing in on two major areas – task management and people management – you can organize your approach in a simple manner and give your team the confidence they need to bounce back.