In Times of Uncertainty, Business Leaders Lead

In times of uncertainty, business leaders lead image of toy boy leading fleet

We’ve seen it time and again—in times of stress and uncertainty, leaders lead. They take initiative and act decisively. They communicate clearly and do things others don’t think to do. And they lead.

From earthquakes to fires, tornados to hurricanes, or wars and acts of terrorism, the pattern repeats. Unexpected things happen, fear grows rapidly, and leaders take action. This is particularly true of the Trusted Advisor, the ultimate business leader. We gain that moniker by earning trust from our clients and those we serve.

Here are five ways trusted advisors and business leaders lead act in times of uncertainty.

1) Clear, Concise, and Consistent Communication

If there is one lesson advisors learned in the Great Recession, it was to communicate. Don’t wait. Get in front of the issue and update your clients. Even if you have little or nothing to say, make contact and touch bases. With employees, clients, vendors, and strategic partners. Be clear, concise and consistent. Leaders lead by communicating clearly, concisely, and consistently.

2) Find Your North Star and Follow It

Pick any great leader—Lincoln, Churchill, Schwarzkopf—and you will see they were single-focused on the objective of the day. Once met, they moved to the next object. They followed a plan. And when the plan didn’t exist, they created one. Knowing the ultimate goal makes plotting a course easier. Clients will be more confident of you when you have a plan.

3) Create Task-Driven Teams

Leaders can’t do everything, and the can’t do it alone. It takes teams and teamwork. Leaders see goals as achieved by meeting a series of objectives, and objectives are met by taking on the tasks that need to me done. Form teams that will be task and goal driving. And communicate how those takes will help everyone get to the ultimate goal. Let clients know your “team” is working hard and making progress.

4) Form Strategic Alliances and Coalitions

We are all greater when we surround ourselves with greatness. We think better. We are more confident. And we achieve more. Align your purpose with like-minded strategic partners, then align your actions. Share in the workload, but share in the successes as well.

5) Become the “Face In Front”

Be seen and heard. Show up. Stand up. A critical tenet of crisis management is to have a single point of focus, a spokesperson. The more serious the situation, the higher up the spokesperson must be. That’s why CEOs, Generals, and Presidents take center stage when the stakes are high.

Clients are hunger for leaders. They want to know someone is looking out for them. They may want miracles, but they need leadership. And when miracles don’t come, leaders are the ones they will follow.

For further reading on leadership skills, I recommend this brief but insightful article in Forbes Magazine. To read it click here.

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Written by Brian Hemsworth
Brian Hemsworth is President and CMO for Newman Grace. He heads up branding and marketing strategy for the firm’s clients. In addition to his work at Newman Grace, Brian has taught more than 50 semesters of marketing and advertising at Pepperdine University and Woodbury University. Brian professional focus and passion is developing brand building strategies for clients. Brian is also a co-founder of Echelon Business Development Network and
1 Comment
  1. This is very good counsel and it is something that I am trying to emulate. During this time of unprecendented uncertainty, leadership at all levels is what is desperately needed. Our families, friends and most certainly our clients desperately need this in order to maintain their sense of normalcy.

    I would also add that during these times, even leaders need to adjust to ever changing circumstances. As I have adjusted my work to primarily video conferencing, working through new technologies for some clients again presents uncertainty, especially as some of the technologies used have crashed or been slow to respond due to the massive surge in use. To get out in front of the clients and explain such issues helps to bring calm as well as reaffirm your leadership capabilities.

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