When the market is down, turn your leadership skills up 

It’s no secret that this market has been tough, but you are tougher. This New Year beckons a season of change—even if the market doesn’t, you sure can. Your outlook, your attitude, your strategies, and your leadership skills can do a 180 in 2024. Although we don’t know what lies ahead, you know that you can handle it.

Leaders are born in times of change. Your business card does not have to say ‘manager’ or ‘VP’…you are the leader of your own life and career, too. So, you can reflect on 2023 and how you want to lead differently this year. It starts with… you guessed it: a plan.

Let’s first take a look back at 2023 to help plan for change in 2024.                                                        

Maybe there was some turnover on your team, or you didn’t receive the promotion you thought you were going to. Some businesses didn’t hit target numbers or lost a big client. Sometimes, we need the “bad stuff” to happen to allow us to grow and change for the better (and appreciate the good things!). It’s your mindset and plan of action that will steer you to a more successful future. With some tactical leadership skills, you can learn how to lead in down times (whether you manage people or not.)

Here are three ways that you can lead in a down market to have an upswing in business.

  1. Communicate. With a lot of hybrid workplaces, important messages can often fall through the cracks. And in times of change, overcommunicating is actually better. Otherwise, people can create their own narrative on what is happening.
    You could:
    • Start a weekly or monthly newsletter: talk to department heads to learn what the key happenings are in their sector and bullet it out for easy understanding. Include an out-of-office calendar and even birthdays and holidays. This will maybe take an hour out of your week (or you could delegate it!), but it will ensure everyone has easy access to pertinent information.
    • Have 15-minute morning huddles: checking in with your team daily can help everyone know what needs to get out the door that day. You can also chat with team members to see who is light and who is overwhelmed to help spread the workaround.
    • Host team-building activities: bringing coworkers together in a more casual environment takes the pressure off work conversations. People can chat about projects without the stress of a traditional meeting. Even something quick like personality quizzes can help build camaraderie amongst teams. You can also learn a lot about how people work together. These “recesses” help boost morale and strengthen relationships among coworkers.
  2. Invest in learning and development. Use this “down time” as an opportunity to read a book, listen to podcasts or take a course (like any of these from Orange Leaf Academy). This investment will help you and your team to stay a step ahead of the competition.
  3. Build relationships. It is really easy to use this time to take a breather, but instead, keep the momentum of the holiday parties going and follow up with people you met at the end of 2023. Deepening relationships can help mitigate the effects of slow times. Build your network of new contacts. They can turn into new customers or even lead you down an avenue to opportunities.

Positive leadership skills

Most of all, we encourage you to stay positive! We know that is easier said than done some days. But looking at this time as an opportunity rather than an obstacle to growth can literally change everything. And, when you have a positive mindset, you’re setting an example for teammates who might need some encouragement. Sometimes, those people who need the most encouragement are the ones who sign the paychecks.

If you don’t consider yourself a leader, think again. You are the leader in your own life and career. Taking small but thoughtful steps above can help transform you this New Year. Even just suggesting change can show you have a growth mindset. Remember, if it opportunities and possibilities ahead.

This year will be what YOU make of it. If you need some extra encouragement or advice, check out a few of our past blogs on leadership for inspiration. We know that becoming a leader in any kind of market takes planning, strategy, bravery, and consistency, but in a down market, it’s important to sprinkle in some extra empathy and compassion. A balance of IQ and EQ. Effectively guiding your teammates through this time can be a challenge. But you know, and we KNOW, you’re ready to Grow Big!