Leadership Series No.4: Leadership in Adversity

The fourth article in our leadership series takes a look at the ability to lead in times of adversity – such as the current Covid-19 crisis.

The current coronavirus crisis is an adverse situation with which we all have to deal. Adversity can also be personal, as we respond to professional setbacks or personal traumas and situations. All of these situations provide leaders with the opportunity to learn and hone our skills as leaders.

When adversity strikes, leaders are faced with the need to pivot and respond to the crisis or emergency situation. A five-step process for managing adversity is proposed by Brad Egeland (projectmanager.com):

  1. Gather the team to assess the damage
  2. Come up with a plan of action
  3. Present to the customer and plan with them
  4. Implement the action plan
  5. Stay the course

This step process helps leaders to methodically plan their responses. Like all good project management, it requires effective planning and implementation.

Nevertheless, leadership in adversity is not all about responding to s changing situation in the short-term. The three tips for leading in adversity provided by coreprocess.co are:

  • Being adaptable
  • Seeing the long game
  • Avoiding discouragement

So, leaders must be willing to make changes and keep working despite facing an uphill struggle. Often, dealing with adversity consumes a lot of time just responding to day-to-day issues, but leaders must still think strategically and be able to vision the long-term. Avoid the pitfall of getting sucked into a short-term approach.

By now, we have all had our fair share of responding to adversity during the last 18 months. What have you learned about your leadership skills during this time? How have you improved as a project manager and as a leader?

We hope you have enjoyed this leadership series. Look out for future articles on similar subjects.

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