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What You Say In Difficult Time Does Matter: Things A Truly Great Leader Says When Facing Challenges

What You Say In Difficult Time Does Matter: Things A Truly Great Leader Says When Facing Challenges

When companies, families or businesses fall into trouble, the group often looks to the leader as if to say, “What now, boss?” And in those moments, truly great leaders know that every word they say matters. Not because they are genius and infallible, but because this is the moment to inspire the group to work together to overcome a difficulty. This is the moment to motivate creative solutions instead of adding to the current problem. This is the moment to drive exciting opportunities from chaos. It’s a leader’s job to rally the team, inspire them to seek solutions and give them hope. So what a leader says in this moment, means everything.

When facing difficult times, a truly great leader will say…

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1. A person’s first name.

A leader see her team. She knows it’s important that each individual is known and recognized for the value they bring. She knows that without this person the team would be lesser, and so she always acknowledges her team members with respect. Using someone’s name perks up their attention, makes them feel seen and inspires their work because they feel valued. Difficult times for a group means all hands on deck, and using someone’s name is the first method a great leader will use to teach that how they contribute matters.

2. Nothing at all.

Sometimes all a team needs at a difficult time is to be heard. To avoid making assumptions, a truly great leader will not try to fix the situation right away with words, but by listening. Listening to team members and making them feel like their words carry weight means they will be more conscious of what they say. When a leader makes his team feel their words will be absorbed, everyone wants to make those words count. A leader knows that listening also sets the precedent for respect, calm and patience.

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3. Why the course is changing.

People are always searching for meaning. A great leader knows that to ask her team to implement a new policy, direction or mode of operation means she has to tell them why the change is meaningful. Disconnecting from the why disconnects the leader from her team. It makes her decision-making more imperative than the team’s ability to effect the change she wants. This divide is counterintuitive to productivity. You cannot build by hoarding meaning. Meaning gives motivation and motivation inspires change.

4. Exactly what he means.

A great leader knows that miscommunications happen and people come to the table with various degrees of assumptions. He knows that the only way to avoid as much miscommunication as possible is to distill his own thoughts into exactly what he means. Saying exactly what he means keeps leading the conversation to the solution and away from misinterpretation. Keeping things concise means his group can count on him to give them clear information every time they need it. It fosters a sense of security. This lack of pretense inspires others to speak more clearly and fewer miscommunications result.

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5. I need help.

She knows when it’s time to delegate, ask for help and get her team to contribute. A great leader won’t play the superhero; she will ask for what she needs because she will expect her team to do this as well. To a great leader, nothing is more important than accomplishing what the team is set to accomplish — so if she doesn’t have an answer and believes someone else can more effectively find the solution, her ego won’t stand in the way. She’ll ask for help and move the project forward.

6. How to move forward.

Most of the time, a great leader invents: new ways of doing things, new products, new connections. He creates something from where there was nothing. In other words, he has a vision. But within that vision, he also sees the steps of how to bring it to fruition and then he communicates the steps clearly. He stays open to improvements upon the plan, but he never comes to the table without a plan in mind. A leader showing up with initiative creates a culture of team members showing up with initiative.

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7. It’s going to be okay.

She won’t lie to her team, but she will see the bigger picture. A great leader knows that perspective is everything when getting around tough problems, and by saying, “We will get through this and all will be fine,” gives her group confidence in their ability to grow. Making a point of saying it’s going to be okay also takes away the dramatic undertone that can develop in a difficult situation. It’s easy to focus on the problem, but calming down helps the entire team focus on the solution instead.

8. Different things at different times.

A truly great leader understands that while we can learn from history, every situation is unique to this particular moment in time. Different people, different locations, and different ability levels all need different solutions. The words a leader might use with a veteran will inevitably be different than the ones he uses with a new team member. They need different ways of being built up, of being encouraged, of being motivated. Every situation will have its own nuance and subtlety and a truly great leader will have the thoughtfulness to address each difficult situation with an equally nuanced approach.

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Last Updated on September 11, 2019

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

Why To-Do Lists Don’t Work (And How to Change That)

How often do you feel overwhelmed and disorganized in life, whether at work or home? We all seem to struggle with time management in some area of our life; one of the most common phrases besides “I love you” is “I don’t have time”. Everyone suggests working from a to-do list to start getting your life more organized, but why do these lists also have a negative connotation to them?

Let’s say you have a strong desire to turn this situation around with all your good intentions—you may then take out a piece of paper and pen to start tackling this intangible mess with a to-do list. What usually happens, is that you either get so overwhelmed seeing everything on your list, which leaves you feeling worse than you did before, or you make the list but are completely stuck on how to execute it effectively.

To-do lists can work for you, but if you are not using them effectively, they can actually leave you feeling more disillusioned and stressed than you did before. Think of a filing system: the concept is good, but if you merely file papers away with no structure or system, the filing system will have an adverse effect. It’s the same with to-do lists—you can put one together, but if you don’t do it right, it is a fruitless exercise.

Why Some People Find That General To-Do Lists Don’t Work?

Most people find that general to-do lists don’t work because:

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  • They get so overwhelmed just by looking at all the things they need to do.
  • They don’t know how to prioritize the items on list.
  • They feel that they are continuously adding to their list but not reducing it.
  • There’s a sense of confusion seeing home tasks mixed with work tasks.

Benefits of Using a To-Do List

However, there are many advantages working from a to-do list:

  • You have clarity on what you need to get done.
  • You will feel less stressed because all your ‘to do’s are on paper and out of your mind.
  • It helps you to prioritize your actions.
  • You don’t overlook so many tasks and forget anything.
  • You feel more organized.
  • It helps you with planning.

4 Golden Rules to Make a To-Do List Work

Here are my golden rules for making a “to-do” list work:

1. Categorize

Studies have shown that your brain gets overwhelmed when it sees a list of 7 or 8 options; it wants to shut down.[1] For this reason, you need to work from different lists. Separate them into different categories and don’t have more than 7 or 8 tasks on each one.

It might work well for you to have a “project” list, a “follow-up” list, and a “don’t forget” list; you will know what will work best for you, as these titles will be different for everybody.

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2. Add Estimations

You don’t merely need to know what has to be done, but how long it will take as well in order to plan effectively.

Imagine on your list you have one task that will take 30 minutes, another that could take 1 hour, and another that could take 4 hours. You need to know the moment you look at the task, otherwise you undermine your planning, so add an extra column to your list and include your estimation of how long you think the task will take, and be realistic!

Tip: If you find it a challenge to estimate accurately, then start by building this skill on a daily basis. Estimate how long it will take to get ready, cook dinner, go for a walk, etc., and then compare this to the actual time it took you. You will start to get more accurate in your estimations.

3. Prioritize

To effectively select what you should work on, you need to take into consideration: priority, sequence and estimated time. Add another column to your list for priority. Divide your tasks into four categories:

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  • Important and urgent
  • Not urgent but important
  • Not important but urgent
  • Not important or urgent

You want to work on tasks that are urgent and important of course, but also, select some tasks that are important and not urgent. Why? Because these tasks are normally related to long-term goals, and when you only work on tasks that are urgent and important, you’ll feel like your day is spent putting out fires. You’ll end up neglecting other important areas which most often end up having negative consequences.

Most of your time should be spent on the first two categories.

4.  Review

To make this list work effectively for you, it needs to become a daily tool that you use to manage your time and you review it regularly. There is no point in only having the list to record everything that you need to do, but you don’t utilize it as part of your bigger time management plan.

For example: At the end of every week, review the list and use it to plan the week ahead. Select what you want to work on taking into consideration priority, time and sequence and then schedule these items into your calendar. Golden rule in planning: don’t schedule more than 75% of your time.

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Bottom Line

So grab a pen and paper and give yourself the gift of a calm and clear mind by unloading everything in there and onto a list as now, you have all the tools you need for it to work. Knowledge is useless unless it is applied—how badly do you want more time?

To your success!

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Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

Reference

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