The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    4 Ways Leaders Can Lead in Difficult Times

    by Bill Eckstrom / January 26, 2021

    Editor's Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness since it's original publish date on March 16, 2020. Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography.

    You have been on my mind, all of you. I am referring to those who lead individuals and teams. Why you specifically? Because of a responsibility you inherited when you accepted your role – to help those on your teams grow physically and/or mentally to heights they would not achieve without you in their lives.

    And they need you.

    It’s time to think beyond what this environment means to your company or institution and first consider how this is uniquely impacting everyone on your team. (Tweet this) Most organizations have taken action to provide physical safety, but more care is needed.

    Much more.


    Some are affected in a minor way while others are reeling, and the hard part is you won’t likely see difference in their behaviors. A collegiate gymnast just had her 18 year career cancelled without notice – forever. A sales person with a young family just bought a new home and is wondering, after just moving in, if they will need to sell. A student wonders if they will see a grandparent again, whose care facility in which they reside is in lock-down. These are real. These are happening. Now.

    We see in our research that much of your leadership effectiveness is determined in challenging times, which is what we are all facing.

    Here are Four steps great leaders should implement During Difficult times:

    1) Check in with yourself

    Leaders need to emulate what they want from those on their team. Be mindful, meditate, take necessary steps that create a calm mind which leads to a healthy environment.

    2) Stay positive

    Everything from body language to your words will be consciously and/or subconsciously stored in the minds of your team.

    3) Lead with love

    Meet with your team not just collectively but individually. Ask questions and don’t worry about having all the answers, which makes it a safe place to be vulnerable. They need to know you care about them more than the business or institution. 

    4) Communicate

    Look for fun and unique ways to help your team use this time wisely. This blog was one result of last week's collaboration with our EcSell team. Taking time to ideate as a team makes us feel like part of a solution and not a victim of circumstance. If you need a place to start, try using The Coaching Effect book study guide as a team development exercise. 

    In 2018 I closed my TEDx Talk with a quote that has not been used since but now seems like an appropriate time.

    “The constant façade of order hides the wilderness that is craving to seep out and teach us the life wasn’t created to be what we think it is.  …we must experience the wilderness to be taught what cannot be otherwise known.” - Dr. Serene Jones


    Please know the EcSell team is here to help. We have free resources, time to consult, assessments available for your teams, and a free survey specific to covid-19 and the effect it's having on leaders and team members. You can LinkedIn message me or email to find what you're looking for. We are here to help.

    The Coaching Effect


    Tags: Best Practices for Leaders & Managers Building Relationships Covid-19 Resources

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    Bill Eckstrom

    Bill Eckstrom

    William Eckstrom is the CEO and Founder of the Ecsell Institute. Bill has spent his entire career in the sales management and leadership arena. In 2008, he founded Ecsell Institute to fill a void he witnessed and personally experienced in the sales leadership profession. He's went on to present a viral TEDx Talk and co-authored the best-selling book, "The Coaching Effect."