3 Ways to Lead Well in a Bad Economy

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We wanted to highlight an excellent article from Harvard Business Review titled How to Be a Good Leader in a Bad Economy and share our takeaways. It seems like the world has just survived the Covid-19 pandemic only to enter a recession, and compounding crises make people more vulnerable. Normal “leadership principles” are not working and possibly making things worse. It is up to leaders to adapt to get the most out of their teams in a bad economy and the key is balancing their desire to move the business forward with the needs of their employees.

The article summarizes three balances leaders need to get right:

Move Closer without Suffocating Others

In moving closer, be careful not to control, disengage, sow doubt, or take on too much work from your subordinates. Rather, make sure engaging more with your teams is helping to motivate, energize, and support them.

Move Faster without Turning Frantic

It’s good to have a healthy bias towards action, but there is a fine line between urgent and frantic. While moving work faster, be sure not to create unnecessary urgency with imaginary deadlines and be care not to interpret constructive feedback as dissent or resistance.

Take on or Assign a Bigger Workload without Sacrificing Relationships

Leaders will typically become more task-oriented in an economic downturn and take on bigger workloads. But in doing this, don’t forget to continue investing in relationships, and maintain a balanced approach around relationship and task priorities.

1. How to be a good leader in a bad economy, Harvard Business Review, Nov 29, 2022. Accessed Dec 19, 2022.