• Scott McLellan

Leading in difficult times

Many of us have never known a time like we are experiencing right now, It really brings home the importance of strong leadership at every level and in all organisations and businesses.

I want to share some tips that will support you and your team to continue to deliver and stay motivated and loyal to your business.


It is vital that you are aware of your current emotional state. You may have family and friends that are at risk, you may suffer from heightened anxiety and even be worried about your job. These are natural thoughts. If you are feeling more emotional then accept it and make an effort to understand it. You may become short with others, react out of character and express your emotions in the wrong way to those in your team. This can have a negative impact on both yourself and others.

What you can do:

At points throughout the day take a moment to assess your current state. How are you feeling right now? Do you need to take a break? If you feel like you do need a break or aren’t feeling great go for a walk, practice breathing techniques, talk to someone or any relaxation technique that works for you.

Consider if you are in the best place to have meetings, or a one to one conversation. If the answer is YES, then strike whilst the iron is hot. Make the most of your state and be productive. If the answer is NO, then take steps to support yourself, push back any conversations with your team until you have completed these and feel in a better place. That may even be until tomorrow! You will benefit from it in the long run


People crave clear communication and direction when they are uncertain. As a leader it is your role to provide clear vision, goal and next steps for your team

What you can do:

You may not be getting clear communication from above but share what you do know and how you aim to support your team. Be open to any questions your team may have. You will not know all of the answers but can assure your team that you will try to find out and feedback their concerns. That alone will give your people belief in you and that you are trying to support them.

Do not give false promises because it will make people feel better in the moment. This will cause you further issues in the future and cause your team to lose trust in you and the business. Be clear with what you can do for you team and deliver what you have promised.


You will have a strong set of personal and professional values that have helped you get into your leadership position. It is important that you understand that others will not always share the same values and beliefs you do, this does not make their values and beliefs any better or worse than yours just different.

What you can do:

In leadership it is vital that you understand what empathy is and get to know your people so that in difficult times, like we are experiencing now, you can understand your teams behaviours and actions and be supportive and not judgmental. Look for a win, win outcome when your team members are struggling. If possible, give them a little time to reflect and encourage self awareness. I promise in the majority of circumstances if you allow your people a small amount of time out when they need it you will get double the time back in the near future.

I hope my brief notes on these three areas are of use to you in times of crisis and highly stressful situations. If you would like to know more or discuss how you can implement these tips further, then please get in touch with me at

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