democratic leadership

5 Types of Leadership for Tough Times

What types of leadership might be helpful during tough times? Are there particular types of leadership that can be helpful during a recession?

To answer the question “what types of leadership might be needed?” it’s helpful to first ask another question. What are some of the key issues and difficulties that organisation face during a recession? Here we highlight five issues:

  • Difficult to know the way forward. Does the direction that the organisation chose in good times remain valid in a recession?
  • What needs to change? What things can turn around our fortunes in a recession?
  • How can we make good ideas to combat a recession become a part of what we do? How do we create opportunities in a recession?
  • When morale can dip and motivation waver, how do we maintain enthusiasm in a recession?
  • We need everybody to pull together to get out of this recession. How can we realise the potential of individuals within the organisation, when  it is most needed?

5 Types of Leadership for Tough Times

That is a tough list of issues and we think that 5 types of leadership are needed to respond to these pressures.

Pathfinder – leading with vision

Pathfinders find a way through difficult times. When vision can become blurred or obscured, pathfinder leaders find ways to clarify what needs to be done. It is very easy to become distracted in a recession with the immediate pressures. A pathfinder leader seeks out ways forward in difficult situations. That may involve pragmatism, the art of the possible because that is sometimes all that can be done. Alternatively it may involve a leap of faith, when carrying on as usual is not an option and a more radical way forward is required

Game changer – leading with action

Game changers are resourceful leaders. They craft creative solutions by thinking differently about the resources they do have, rather than wishing for more resources that they don’t. They see the potential when resources are re-purposed to achieve outcomes beyond what was thought possible. As the phrase suggests game changers change the rules or turn the “table on its head” to think differently about the services/products you deliver. Often this is done by seeing things from a customer’s perspective.

Rain maker – leading with purpose

Rain maker leaders create opportunities. They make great ideas and excellent service fruitful. They find opportunities with customers and connect to the products and services that fulfill the opportunity. When order might be drying up rain makers find opportunities and connect the innovations of the game changer to customers. One of the critical types of leadership needed in a recession is to creatively work with customers.

Bridge builder – leading with service

Bridge builder leaders are able to build trust and support amongst colleagues especially when insecurities mount amongst colleagues. Morale and motivation are often first in line to suffer when times are tough. Bridge builder leaders demonstrate a commitment to serve their colleagues and customers.

Play maker – leading with others

Play makers get the best out of others. They are adept at helping others to use their strengths to help bring the business out of a recession. To succeed in a recession all the talent in an organisation needs to be harnessed. Play maker leaders know that leadership needs to be spread more widely, and are great at giving responsibility and encouraging others to take a lead.

5 types of leadership for tough times can help businesses to gain clarity (vision) and act resourcefully (action), so that they are able to realise opportunity (purpose), by building momentum amongst colleagues (service) and unlocking their talent and potential (lead with others).

You can find more about the 5 types of leadership in our article: uncommon characteristics of a good leader.

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