Leading through Difficult Times

Be Different. Deliver Excellence.

May 05, 2020

Video Above: Collabrance leadership shares motivational quotes with the team.

Approaching Leadership with Candor, Urgency, Courage and Compassion.

As a leader, I will admit that leading a team during good times can be easy. When the economy is doing well and performance is meeting expectations, the small things or mistakes can easily be forgotten. Now, many leaders are faced with leading through a time that none of us have ever experienced.

Not only are leaders having to make major decisions to manage the business, but also to address the needs of their team members in a time when they may not be able to physically express their thoughts and concerns.

During this pandemic, many leaders are faced with finding the right balance to keep their business operational for the future, while not sacrificing the culture and trust they have built with their team.

Take Action as a Leader

The actions leaders take as teams work from home can sometimes be amplified because the less interactions can cause those few interactions and decisions to be magnified.

I know I am not the only leader who has and is struggling to find the right balance of making tough decisions without losing sight of my team members’ concerns.

Every person is going through this differently so we need to make sure we are having regular check-ins at all levels of our organization. It is crucial to be very proactive and not wait for someone to speak up. One way I’ve attempted to be accessible to direct reports is continue regular weekly 1:1s on video calls, or in some situations even daily huddles to keep open lines of communication. I’ve also tried to send weekly emails to the entire team to provide answers to questions, share updates, and give gratitude.

Ways to Encourage Your Leaders to Approach Today with the Team:


  • Be honest but avoid over promising, as we do not know what the near future holds.


  • Be seen as having a sense of urgency and the ability to be decisive.
  • Know when it makes sense to slow down as people can only change so fast.


  • Provide optimism, but be careful to not give a false sense of hope with certain situations.


  • Be resilient and offer empathy as everyone is impacted and coping differently.
  • Do not expect the same results from team members because their environment may be completely different than they are used to.
  • Use technology to still have a “presence” within teams.
  • Ask questions like, “What is this been like for you?”

Discuss "Leading in Times of Change" with Your Team

My mentor and I have spent a great deal of time discussing this challenging time, and how critical it is for leaders to step up and be present. Through these discussions with him and reviewing an older but very relevant article, “Leading in Times of Change” by Kerry Bunker & Michael Wakefield; I would encourage other leaders to review this short article and discuss with their leadership team on what else they could be doing to help their organization.

Leading Through Times of Change

Category: Leadership

About The Author

Corey Kerns

Corey Kerns, Vice President and General Manager, is responsible for the overall vision at Collabrance, and oversees sales, marketing, operations, strategic leadership and financial performance. In 2015, Corey joined Collabrance as the Senior Finance and Operations Analyst. In this role, Corey was responsible for developing and monitoring key performance indicators, as well as assisting in the evaluation of profitability, efficiency and automation strategies. Prior to joining Collabrance, Corey started at GreatAmerica in 2011 and served as the Senior Business Unit Analyst for the Connected Technology Group. In this role, Corey led all activities with respect to financial controls and evaluating the financial implications of the business unit’s operating strategy. Corey received his B.A. in Business Administration from Wartburg College and earned an M.B.A. from the University of Iowa.