In the modern workplace, leaders are expected to do more and more with less resources. In some organizations this means the employee complement gets reduced and the workload remains the same or increases. In other organizations there are insufficient tools available, or there are untrained employees. As the evolving external environment drives deeper and deeper cost cutting, resource availability can be an ongoing challenge for some organizations.
Here are six tips you can use to lead resourcefully, while demonstrating passion, commitment, persistence and the ability to handle unexpected road blocks:
It is important to build a network of relevant contacts at multiple levels within your organization, industry or among persons in different industries who operate in roles that are similar to yours. By creating a pool of persons with useful experience you can tap into your network by asking questions and running ideas by these knowledgeable and experienced persons. Networks operate best when support is reciprocated so you need to remain connected with persons so you can be there for them when they need you.
At the outset, creativity is based on you and your team’s abilities to innovate new perspectives of an existing challenge and generate fresh solutions. During the brainstorming process, this requires viewing the challenge through new eyes. Multiple perspectives are best because they can be distilled into a powerful, out of the box idea.
Asking yourself and your team the following questions can help you achieve additional perspectives:
- What are the resources we have immediate access to?
- How can they be adapted to the situation or how can the situation be adapted to the resources?
- Do we need a temporary or permanent fix?
- Is there another way we can perceive the goal?
- Which team members have a strong network we can access?
- How can we use our network to find the resources we need?
- Who are the best experts who are likely to provide great ideas?
Realizing there are insufficient resources can cause anxiety for some leaders and teams. One reason for this is because uncertainty can lead to aggressive behaviours when there is a shortage and this can be intensified when there is an upward adjustment of team goals. Courage is necessary for leaders who intend to overcome a state of unresourcefulness, especially if the solution takes the team in a direction that may meet with full blown resistance from decision-makers.
- Managing Urgency & Ambiguity
Sometimes, when resourcefulness is needed, there is an immediate need for a solution so urgency means courage and patience are necessary. When there are insufficient resources there is room for ambiguity. In cases like this, you know you don’t have enough resources and you may not know how you will achieve your goals without resources, and this is compounded by intense, ongoing pressure.
When fear or anxiety are present, it is difficult to be creative and to connect with your team in order to generate ideas. Despite this, when there is urgency, creativity more necessary than ever for planning so you will need to use your leadership skills to manage morale before you can brainstorm optimally.
- Research (so you don’t reinvent the wheel)
Conducting research can mean networking with experienced persons to learn about their insights into how to resolve a situation, or it can mean referring to a search engine that can provide you and your team with relevant articles or research papers. Conducting research is helpful as a supplementary exercise because there may be a way that was already tried and tested that you can adapt to your situation without reinventing the wheel. Not only can research bring clarity where there is ambiguity, it will also address the pressures.
- Create a Resourceful Team
As a leader, it is not enough for you to be the only practical, imaginative person on your team. The more resourceful team mates you have, the better. Therefore, it is beneficial for you to develop your coworkers so they too can learn the art of resourcefulness. Coaching is a powerful tool you can use to develop the state of resourcefulness among your team members.
Yvette Bethel is CEO of Organizational Soul, an Organizational Effectiveness Consulting and Leadership Development company. She is a Consultant, Trainer, Speaker, Facilitator, Executive Coach, Author, and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner. If you are interested Yvette's ideas on other leadership topics you can sign up for her newsletter at www.yvettebethel.com or you can listen to her podcast at Evolve Podcast.