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How to Keep Teams Positive & Focused During Difficult Times

Adam Ward

When it comes to being a leader, it has never been a more challenging time to lead through uncertainty and complexity.  We were particularly struck by the HBR interview with LinkedIn CEO Ryan Roslansky (12:00-15:00) where he talked about the concept of adaptive leadership and how leaders can set their team up for success when things are constantly changing. Adaptive leadership focuses on creativity, resilience, and iterating quickly as new information is discovered about the needs of your team and organization. It emphasizes staying closely in tune to the dynamics of the team, proactively engaging team members in problem solving, and encouraging the team to adapt quickly to changes that are necessary for its long-term success. To do this, leaders should be communicating things that are within the team’s control to have a positive impact, developing the skills of their team members, and creating an environment where team members can take risks and learn from mistakes. Lastly, adaptive leaders help teams stay positive and focused on outcomes.

A few ways to help teams stay positive and focused on outcomes during difficult times are:

  • Seeing times like this as an opportunity to do things differently versus more or less of the same playbook.
  • And when you are trying new things, consistently iterate and pivot based on the data and feedback.
  • Set achievable goals for the team and break them down into smaller tasks to stay focused and make progress.
  • Celebrate small successes, no matter how small, to stay motivated and recognize progress.
  • Encourage team members to take breaks and maintain work-life balance to reduce stress and fatigue.
  • Promote a culture of open dialogue and focus on solutions that can move the team forward.

As we often explore in our Recruiting Leadership Academy series, leading a recruiting team is a hard job, but really where you learn and grow the most as a leader is when there are headwinds and you are put into situations you haven’t seen before. And when you reflect back, it will be some of the most rewarding parts of your career.

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