When the going gets rough, team cohesiveness can break down and productivity plummets. Declining conditions breed controversy and contempt among subordinates.  Good teams respond well.  Great teams excel. Exceptional teams turn the challenge into an opportunity and achieve greatness.  The latter case requires exceptional leadership. Your actions under fire set the tone for your company, your products and services and your life. Ten simple rules will help you bolster and harden your team in these tough times.  Heed them and perhaps you can follow in the footsteps of George Patton.  Ignore them and you may follow the footfalls of George Custer.

1.Slow down: Crisis will force you to act decisively, but that does not mean you should rush your decision-making.  In the heat of battle, with bullets and dirt flying, the best leaders, like the best athletes, slow the game down.

2.Think: Thought is the one of the most under-valued attributes of leadership.   When events take hold, the ability to stop and consider all circumstances and all options before acting is crucial to success.  Thinking will help you to master the detail; organize and orchestrate the details required to affect a positive outcome.

3.Be mindful of your Actions: Remember that your demeanor and your actions are the real indicator or you state of mind.  Never show doubt, discouragement or fatigue.   Act like a leader. You are the source of direction, as well as an example to others. A leader knows.  Leader ship is not a nine to five job – you have to live it.

4.Communicate: No news is bad news in a crisis.  The more your team knows about the situation and your approach to it, the more thoughtful consideration it will get.    Seek counsel of all reliable participants.   Demand a difference of opinion. If everyone is thinking alike, no one is thinking.  Effective leadership is consultative.  In the end, your message must be clear, unmistakable and delivered with conviction.

5.Go to the Source: Get your information from the front lines.  Do not rely on conjecture.  Find the source of the problem and move towards it with a mind to understand it better so that you can address it properly.

6.Keep it Simple: All statements, conclusions and tactics should be simple. Use the most direct language possible.   To do this, a leader must completely and comprehensively understand the mission, purpose, objectives and goals.  It is a precedent that you do your homework.

7.Remain on the Offensive: Do not relax with your success.  When you relax, your team relaxes.   Never dig in.  “a good Calvary charge i The best defense is a good offense.

8.Be One of the Troops: In cold weather, do not to dress more warmly than your team members. Use what they use, work with their tools.  Suffer with the team members and you will know them and the limits of their capabilities.

9.Maintain Balance: Do not sacrifice too much for too little gain.   Give equally and expect to get equally.  Know the content and quality of your adversary and measure it against your own.   Keep your confidence in balance.

“There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry.”  George Armstrong Custer

10.Be Decisive: Once you have made a decision, stick to it and see it through to conclusion.   If you have applied the previous rules, your decisions have a high likelihood of success – but only if given the chance to succeed.

“Listen to your heart and proceed with confidence.” George Patton.