Leading a team during challenging times can be overwhelming, but it is also an excellent opportunity to showcase your strong leadership skills. Whether you are dealing with a crisis, a significant change, or an uncertain period, there are strategies you can use to manage friction and emerge as a better leader.
Understanding the Causes of Friction
Friction can stem from various sources, including conflicting goals or priorities, personality clashes, communication breakdowns, and external factors such as economic downturns or industry disruptions. As a leader, it’s crucial to identify the root causes of friction to address them effectively and prevent them from escalating into more severe issues. Creating a culture of open communication and collaboration, and proactively addressing sources of tension, and conflict within your team can help mitigate potential problems.
How to Handle Friction
Navigating friction requires proactive and reactive strategies.
Proactively, leaders should create a culture of open communication and collaboration, establish clear goals and expectations, and provide regular feedback and recognition.
Reactively, leaders should address sources of tension or conflict as soon as they arise, using active listening, empathy, and problem-solving skills to find mutually beneficial solutions. It’s also important to model positive behaviors and attitudes and to encourage your team to do the same.
Embrace Change and Adapt Quickly
In times of friction, leaders must be adaptable and open to change. Being willing to pivot strategies, adjust goals, and try new approaches is critical. Leaders should communicate these changes effectively to their teams and help them understand the reasoning behind them. Leaders who can adapt their approaches and effectively communicate their mission to stakeholders are more likely to succeed in achieving their goals.
GLEAC Which soft skills are needed for your job (Strategy and Transformation)?
Kishen Maharaj (Director at Valaris): The soft skills required are leadership, critical thinking, effective communication, and collaborative skills. When leading massive change programs, these soft skills tend to have an impact on various stakeholders. Being able to empathize with these stakeholders as you navigate important changes helps build trust and demonstrates authentic leadership in action.
Encourage Collaboration and Teamwork
One of the most effective ways to navigate friction as a leader is to encourage collaboration and teamwork among your team members. To encourage collaboration, consider implementing team-building activities, creating cross-functional teams, and providing opportunities for your team members to work together on projects or initiatives. Recognizing and rewarding collaborative behaviors, such as sharing ideas, offering support, and working towards shared goals, can also help build a more collaborative environment.
Anticipate Potential Obstacles
Anticipating potential obstacles and preparing for them is a crucial aspect of effective leadership during tough times. By identifying potential sources of conflict or challenges, leaders can develop strategies to mitigate or address them before they become major issues. Taking a proactive approach to conflict management can help minimize the impact of tough times on your team and organization, making them more resilient in the face of adversity.
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