Leading In Times of Uncertainty

Note: I wrote this as a newsletter to my list in October of 2019. One of my friends reminded me of this newsletter & encouraged me to share given the times we find ourselves in right now. Only minor tweaks were made to the content.

How are you feeling about this year? Are you feeling excited and on the right track or are you feeling a little wobbly or uncertain?

As the founder of a global sales and sales training company, I’ve worked with a number of different teams in the good times and in the not so good times. It is always fascinating to see how a company leader will respond when things are uncertain.

And by uncertain, I mean, what do you do as a leader when:

  • Registrations for your event aren’t where you need them to be in order to break even (or you can no longer meet in person)
  • The launch didn’t go as planned
  • You flubbed the offer either on stage or during a webinar so you missed your revenue target
  • You took a risk and invested and things didn’t turn out the way you’d expected or you didn’t get the ROI as quickly as expected
  • Cash flow is off and now you aren’t sure how you’re going to make payroll
  • We are faced with a global pandemic

As the leader, what do you do?

You’ve worked so hard to build the right team to support you in scaling your business and maybe in the past things were humming right along and now they’re not.

One of the biggest areas of uncertainty I saw last year was, what do you do when it isn’t working anymore? Whether it’s in the day-to-day business, a special or annual event, or even a launch, what happens when it just isn’t working? Now we are asking, what do you do when the world is faced with a global pandemic and it’s negatively impacting (or has impacted) my business?

1. Come out of the broom closet. A colleague once shared the story of a client who literally hid in the broom closet when she hit a rough patch in her business and didn’t want to face her team. Since she didn’t know what to say, her first instinct was to literally go and hide.

I get it. In times of uncertainty it’s easy to want to go stick your head in the sand and simply check out. However, ostrich leadership doesn’t work. Sticking your head in the sand will only make it worse.

2. Communication is key. Take a moment to talk to your team. And by talk, I do mean talk. Now is not the time to send an email, text or slack message. You don’t have to get into all the gory details, but you do need to be honest about where the company is and how this may (or will) impact them.

You may be pleasantly surprised by the response you receive from team members when you communicate early (as in before the ship starts sinking) and honestly. Most team members want to see you succeed and are willing to make adjustments during a time of uncertainty.

3. You may need a fresh perspective. Sometimes you just need to bring in a new set of eyes to provide different insight. This can look a number of different ways. You can hire a consultant or coach, you can attend an event, or you might event just get away and take a personal retreat where you can get away from the day-to-day which will enable you to see things differently.

Let’s face it. As business leaders, uncertain times will come. How we respond and lead our teams in those times, will determine how quickly we can move past the uncertainty into smoother waters.


Dr. Nadia Brown is the founder of The Doyenne Agency, a global sales and sales training firm serving service-based businesses. If you’d like a fresh perspective on your sales systems and how to improve & increase your sales conversations, I’d love to chat with you. Simply click here to schedule a call.

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