Authority Magazine
Published in

Authority Magazine

Sasha Laghonh of Sasha Talks: Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain & Turbulent Times

Practice selflessness. It’s easy to embrace ‘selfish’ mode during uncertain times because people want to protect what they have, especially power and resources. Refrain from being stingy with sharing information that is kosher and relevant to be shared with others in the business. Apply discretion without being selfish. Those around you will remember whether you honored your duty with care, or whether you abandoned everyone to preserve your interests.

As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had Ithe pleasure of interviewing (Your name here).

Sasha is a Founder and Entrepreneur of an educational and entertainment platform that integrates self & professional development into nurturing meaningful outcomes. As a speaker, mentor and author, she partners alongside different clients, from individuals to organizations, to capitalize upon their talent. She is the host in residence for KreativeCircle.com and Global Ambassador for Style My Soul, a Lifestyle & Interests Community. To learn more, please visit www.sashatalks.com.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I hail from a business background where I’ve contributed to the private and public sector while catering to a broad array of industries. Therefore I know how it is to work for startups and established organizations within the United States and abroad.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

I’ve had men contact me to request live adult chat and phone services because of the name “Sasha Talks”. It’s good to know that a broad variety of people are seeking different flavors of entertainment!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I would like to thank Lily, an executive, whom I worked alongside during my late teens. She always made it a point to have fun while working. She was one of the first people to teach me how to differentiate between taking work seriously versus taking oneself seriously. It didn’t matter the time of the day, or the day of the week. Anything can happen, walking out for fresh air … and the next thing you’re invited to take a personal tour of Fenway Park during the business week. Leave room for good surprises. Those are the moments I remember because they manifest out of the blue. Most of life’s memorable experiences are not planned.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your organization started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

The mission remains to focus on the human condition by elevating the mind and heart. When we’re seeking change, people often believe it can be bought. Context matters. When it comes to our well-being, in business or life, we need to find creative and optimal ways of enhancing our performance. Improving performance in life requires self-development, mindfulness, strategy and consistent execution to say the least.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

I believe in transparency. Acknowledge the situation, address your thoughts and concerns then welcome input from others impacted by these uncertain times. It’s important to remember this is a conversation. Be open to share your challenges in the context of the conversation. Keep it real. Do not offer false hope and be open to entertaining questions. Life is unscripted. Sometimes executives and companies cherry pick what they want to entertain from the audience. Half of the time the latter is a result of poor leadership, a poor HR or Communications team. Ignoring reality will only compromise the trust among staff.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

Giving up was never an option because I don’t keep that option on my life menu. If I ever walk away from a situation, it’s because I no longer believe in it or I’ve outgrown the circumstances surrounding it. My motivation is derived from inner belief.

I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?

Many books have inspired me over time. I will credit The Secret for enlightening me with some wisdom. Either it’s a very misunderstood piece of literature, or widely celebrated awakening that takes scientific principles into consideration. Sometimes we need good sense packaged in a simple book. Easy to read. I recommend revisiting it over a large span of time to extract fresh perspectives on the presented topics.

What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.

If you don’t know the answers. Say it. Don’t make up stuff.

When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?

Communicate. Make sure to find ways to genuinely connect with your team whether it’s through social engagement, team building or simply having a working meal where the topic isn’t work. There are many ways to remain personable without getting personal with staff members. Everyone is experiencing a unique sense of reality, we need to respect their thoughts and reactions to it. Also not everyone will vocalize their thoughts — respect the space but nurture the spirit of community. Words and kindness go a long way. Park the lip service. People want to know their leader is human, someone who speaks to people more than practicing their lines in front of the mirror. Uncertain times are the fastest way for any mask to fall off, our strengths and weaknesses are apt to be amplified during such times.

What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?

Communicate in person, face to face on video and worst-case scenario on the phone. Do your best to not hide behind the email. Skip the emojis. It’s a time to have a respectful and sensible conversation without letting interference or distractions get in the way. Prove to yourself and others that you respect not only your role, but also others involved in the situation.

Please do not delegate the difficult news to be communicated by other members of your company. I personally cannot respect any leader that engages in cowardice, especially when it’s an opportunity to refine the cohesiveness of these relationships. Shirking such duties grants the staff a good reason to not trust nor respect their leader. Also it creates poor morale.

How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?

Do your best to strategize next steps by engaging in contingency planning which encompasses a few scenarios. Work with facts available at hand, feedback from staff and integrate historical decisions that can guide the way to move forward. Do not outsource planning to third parties who have no vested interest in the mission. Keep the spouses, friends, partners and strangers out. Random speculation with the aid of poor sources can kill a handful of careers and livelihoods.

Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

Stay in your lane. Do not start reacting by crafting solutions that work for competitors and others around you in the market space. Respond to your situation. Reactions come a dime a dozen — they’re useless.

Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

  1. Leaders react by sharing unviable solutions with anxious staff members to diffuse any pressure, literal and metaphorical, within the company. It doesn’t SOLVE the problem.
  2. Do not over-promise and under-deliver. Basically, do not make any promises.
  3. Refrain from abusing any financial resources with hopes that money will take care of it. For example, if an organization is funding overhead investments (human capital and otherwise) through loans, more loans can only help you bide time. Sooner or later you will need to cut your losses short. More money doesn’t take care of all problems in life. Be an adult and make responsible decisions so people are saved from deferred disappointments and pain.
  4. Communication matters. Going silent on staff members, vendors, business partners and people in general will only make matters worse when the business needs some emotional support. Businesses are created and managed by people. The thread of humanity still needs to be nurtured, even from a distance. Do not forget those that have made it possible for you to make it this far. Be mindful of how your season of silence translates to others. It’s not about what people think. It’s about acknowledging you’re also facing uncertainty like others. A sense of humanity allows people to step forward and lend a helping hand when least expected. Also, manage your expectations — don’t expect people to save you when people are busy saving themselves.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Communicate. This goes for your leadership, staff and other vested parties that impact your business.
  2. Find a personal outlet to de-stress. Not all business solutions transpire during business hours. Manage your stress and make sure to give your body and mind a rest. Lack of clarity and objectivity suffers when people are trying to be everything to everyone.
  3. Remain informed of the situation. Read, talk to people who have legitimate insights and make sure to write your own thoughts down. A lot happens in a day, sometimes reflection is a process when the mind needs time to absorb and digest information.
  4. Pace yourself. Do not rush through your decisions nor should you disrespect time and hold off on decisions by ‘deferring’ them for too long. Exercise moderation in how you operate and move forward everyday.
  5. Practice selflessness. It’s easy to embrace ‘selfish’ mode during uncertain times because people want to protect what they have, especially power and resources. Refrain from being stingy with sharing information that is kosher and relevant to be shared with others in the business. Apply discretion without being selfish. Those around you will remember whether you honored your duty with care, or whether you abandoned everyone to preserve your interests.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The only real training for leadership is leadership.” — Antony Jay

How can our readers further follow your work?

People are welcome to visit sashatalks.com and drop a hello through the contact page.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Thank you for entertaining my insights. Keep up the great work!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Yitzi Weiner

Yitzi Weiner

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator