How We Manage Through Tough Times, As Individuals & Leaders

This is my first blog post since March. I’ve been thinking a lot during the past few months about leadership during tough times and our own individual behaviors. Many of these thoughts come from my observations, experiences and are relevant to what’s happening in the world today.

It is during tough times that we get tested personally on multiple fronts:
* Our core values.
* Our emotional intelligence.
* How we care about, treat and support our key stakeholders – both in personal and professional lives.
* How well we prepare for the future (will be ready to run at high speed when things get better?) – both mentally and physically.
* Most importantly, our perseverance and ability to rebound from tough situations.

As we know, life consists of ups and downs. We’ll live in a fool’s world, if we believe things will continue to be good or bad. Additionally, there will always be some things that worry us. Kahlil Gibran’s quote is so good to remember, especially during tough times – “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens”.

What really matters is that we don’t lose focus during the tough times, fight adversity with “stubborn perseverance”, refuse to give up and work towards possible solutions.

From a leadership perspective, some of the most important behavioral things that a leader can do during very difficult times is not just be realistic but more importantly followup the realism with encouraging the organisation and being optimistic about future potential. Optimism is contagious when it comes from a trusted individual. Being a ‘cheer’leader and building focus, energy level and high hopes for the future are equally important elements. Most times, the followers feed on the energy of their leaders. This is of course not easy to do as leaders themselves will be going through a tough phase. Leaders should always remember that every single move, especially during tough times is keenly observed by the rest of the organisation. What they do, talk about, and how they behave have a big impact on the organisation.

In the long run, leaders leave a legacy and are more remembered for how they got things done, not just what. I strongly believe that in today’s world, without the first, the second is not sustainable.


  1. jim

    Gr8 one indeed Tojo..I am definetly with you on the “Optimism is contagious when it comes from a trusted individual.” I always felt trust is something which is very strong and equally fragile.

    One thing I am still trying to come around is ofcourse the “stubborn perseverance”. Will it someway or ther cut down the options around. Though i can feel the importance keeping focused,i was always wondering the extend of keeping the net wide enough to gather more fishes ( Idea )..

    a gr8 blog mate.. got chance to think a bit more thanks for that tojo..

  2. Tojo Eapen

    Thank you, Jim. Agree with your comment regarding trust.

    What I meant by ‘stubborn perseverance’ was about ‘not giving up’. Sometimes in a tough environment, when none of our efforts seem to work, it’s easier to lose hope, give up or cut down our efforts. It might surely be worthwhile to try something different or adopt a different approach.

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