The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone. Leaders in India Inc. know that those who navigate through adversities are the ones who survive the crests and troughs of their careers. However, such capability to deal with adversities is not unique to the new normal. Many times, adversities at work emerge organically, for instance, due to a sudden change in organizational structure, an unexpected merger or acquisition, shortage of team members or personal emergencies.

So, if you’re a manager or looking to be one, you have to evaluate your capabilities to handle crisis situations, amp up your game and prepare your team to do the same. This means working on your Adversity Quotient (AQ).

What does it mean to be a manager with a high AQ?

It means that in the thick of adversity, you can balance your thoughts, express with reason and judgment and make decisions that make sense for the business in the long run. You help your team proactively, make them feel valued and even empower them to bring their best selves to work. You are empathetic to behavior changes and temperaments as crisis evokes varied responses. You don’t panic or crumble under pressure. Your focus is not limited to quick wins. You are resilient, can stay positive, and look at adversity as an opportunity.

How can you work through adversities and improve your AQ?

Here are a few prerequisites for managers and potential managers:

Have a learner mindset. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

You can navigate through adversity if you’re a learner. Know that it is okay to make mistakes and to learn along the way. Don’t be afraid to accept that you don’t know something. It’s a crisis. It’s new for everyone. So, give yourself that leeway. Don’t isolate yourself. Unite to find interesting and even revolutionary solutions.

It’s very hard for managers to do so, but humility and openness to fall, get up, and get better is what makes a manager emerge as a leader.

Be a good listener, and then collaborate.

During adversities, most teams panic and imagine the worst case scenarios that may not be the only possibilities. Catch those nuances. Listen to their views. Sometimes the best ideas, (and not only feedback), comes from your juniors and reportees. Their eyes and ears are closer to the ground.

Once you’ve gathered your team’s thoughts, collaborate. See how you can integrate your team into the decision-making journey. That reduces stress as your team feels valued, motivated, and secure.

Set your priorities and communicate with empathy.

You will have to make hard choices during adversities. Hence, inculcate clarity of thoughts and actions. Enlist your priorities.

Once clear-headed, be as clear in your communications with your teams, the decisions you make, the work you delegate. If you respond ambiguously, you’ll only add fuel to fire.

Also, it’s not about what you say but how you say it. Keep your tone empathetic. Make sure your team understands you. And be honest with them.

Be a sprinter not a marathon runner.

Your team needs someone with endurance, someone they can trust to finish the race. Develop the patience to understand the nature of the adversity. Accept that it’s bound to disrupt your plans, that your team will not function the way it did pre-adversity.

Don’t try to beat the disruption. Don’t use all energy and force at once like a sprinter, and then fizzle out. Instead, work ‘with’ the disruption and persevere, no matter what.

These qualities will go a long way to build your AQ and strengthen the value you bring to your organization.

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