When the Going Gets Tough: 5 Leadership Competencies to Elevate

March 14, 2023

[As published in Atlanta Business Chronicle]

ATLANTA, March 15, 2023 – How do leaders excel in a tough business climate like today’s? They sharpen their leadership capabilities in five key areas, according to The Workplace Coach.

“Constant change and volatility is the new normal. That’s forcing leaders to re-think their  priorities,” said Dr. Mickey Parsons, MCC, founder of The Workplace Coach. The Workplace Coach is an award-winning provider of leadership programs and executive coaching services in Atlanta and beyond.

“We’re urging our executive coaching and leadership coaching clients to focus on five leadership competencies that will have strategic impact,” Parsons said.



Resilient leaders are confident problem-solvers who approach challenges with a positive attitude, seeing obstacles as opportunities for growth. They are skilled at inspiring and guiding others to develop creative solutions to business problems.

Parsons offered the following tips for cultivating leadership resilience:

·      Make a deliberate choice to approach challenges as opportunities for learning.

·      Know your strengths, weaknesses and motivations, so you can deploy them consciously.

·      Cultivate support networks and use them.

·      Inspire team members by reminding them of the firm’s core mission and values.  

·      Urge team members to see fresh perspectives and  creative possibilities.


The destabilizing effects of today’s business climate affect everyone, from your strategic partners to employees. Trust is of paramount importance. The way to build trust is through transparency. Leaders must model open and honest communications across the board.

Parsons shared the following tips for healthy communications:

·      Be willing to tackle tough conversations.

·      Ask open-ended questions.

·      Listen without judgement and be empathetic.

·      Give positive feedback to  team members frequently.

·      Be forthcoming about your own shortcomings.


In tough times, leaders must communicate a positive and realistic vision. This demands strategic thinking, a strong executive presence and active nurturing of collaboration and creativity.

Here are tips for strengthening your visionary aptitude:

·      Embrace your core values. This lets you develop a vision with integrity and authority.

·      Know your own strengths and assets so you communicate your vision with conviction.

·      Support creative collaboration by inviting others into the conversation.

·      Keep your eyes open for innovative opportunities. Look for surprising synergies and new ways of working across traditional silos.


The ability to influence and inspire others requires skillful communications, and the foundation of skillful communications is emotional intelligence or EQ. ‍‍Leaders with high emotional intelligence project calm and resilience, handle conflict effectively and are skilled at managing team dynamics.

‍EQ tips:

·      Gain insights into your own emotions and behaviors by doing a 360-degree assessment profile. (Contact The Workplace Coach to learn about our top-rated EQ tools.)

·      Learn to identify those situations and exchanges that trigger strong emotional responses in you.

·      In heated situations, practice pausing before reacting.

·      Take time to process your emotions, for example by journaling at the end of the day.


When an organization is going through change, employees take their lead from managers and leaders in terms of how to respond. Leaders today need to model flexibility and adaptability. Some will need to adapt their management style and behaviors.

A few flexibility tips for leaders:

·      Let go of the need to be the expert.

·      Seek out diverse viewpoints that challenge your perspective.

·      Adopt an attitude of curiosity toward change and uncertainty.

·      Make a point to try new things.

·      Be willing to learn from failure.

“Leaders today need to be more assured and nimbler than ever. That’s why we see a growing demand for executive coaching and leadership coaching services and leadership development programs like our customized offerings at The Workplace Coach,” Parsons said.

ABOUT THE WORKPLACE COACH: For more than two decades, The Workplace Coach has partnered successfully with executive coaching and leadership coaching clients and organizations to help them achieve their strategic goals. Leadership coaching clients report success in developing their leadership mindset and executive presence and in using leader-as-coach skills to drive employee engagement and productivity.

Get Practical and Actionable Insights Delivered Monthly

Sign up for our blog now so you never miss out on our expert advice and tips.

* indicates required

Other Blogs

The Need for Leadership Agility Is Acute. Do You Have What It Takes?

Leadership agility is the ability to lead effectively amid rapid change and in complex situations. It requires a capacity to learn and adapt quickly in order to navigate fast-changing dynamics. Leadership agility also involves the ability to embrace uncertainty.

Your Path to Leadership Greatness

Do you want to become a leader? Taking the time to understand your “why” will get you there faster. When you are clear about your purpose, you tend to set goals that align with that purpose. As a result, you are naturally more motivated to reach your goals.

5 Steps to Reaching the C-Suite

Are you aiming for the C-suite? Or perhaps your firm needs to groom execs for the corner office? Here are five learning priorities, plus tips, suitable both for professionals who want to reach the corner office and for learning officers and HR pros looking to prepare their next C-suite occupants.