Sherry Khan of Anideos On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain &…

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Sherry Khan of Anideos On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain & Turbulent Times

Be Present and Communicate Often. During difficult times, employees, stakeholders, and customers crave clarity and reassurance. They look to their leaders for guidance and support. A leader must show up and lead by example so that the people know the leader is willing to step up and take charge. Besides, it’s necessary that leaders’ goals are heard firsthand and not by other company members so as not to mislead and misinterpret them.

As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Sherry Khan.

Sherry Khan is the founder and CEO of Anideos. He is a passionate entrepreneur with years of valuable experience in the US market. Captivated by the industry trends, he let his creative side take over and started his own company, Anideos, from scratch with the drive to showcase his love for illustrations and animations. Sherry also consults multiple B2B and B2C companies to strategize their business plans and help them grow.

Sherry began his career as a business analyst and entrepreneur. Throughout his professional career, he has never been hesitant to take risks, which he believes has helped him improve professionally and personally. He is enthusiastic about his business and loves spreading his knowledge to young entrepreneurs. As the CEO, he aspires to elevate Anideos to unimaginable heights!

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 started traveling at a young age and explored various cultures and traditions that expanded my horizons and helped me gain diverse perspectives. Since moving abroad, I have never shied away from any job role. To be fair, there were blowouts along the way, but I don’t regret them — all those shaped me into the person I am today.

The learning phase of my life began quite early. Speaking of which, I pursued a bachelor’s degree in International Business Management from Anglia Ruskin University. I began my professional career as an entrepreneur and business analyst. Since then, I have been on a non-stop journey to evolve professionally and personally and learn new things daily.

I’m an artist at heart. I’ve always been mesmerized by how much a piece of art can achieve and the amount of thought process that goes into it. Out of my curiosity and passion for creativity and growth, I founded Anideos — an animation and tech company, from scratch. My team and I have made tremendous efforts to scale it from the ground up. And together, we aspire to make it a renowned name and draw in clients from all parts of the world.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Like everyone else, I’ve also made mistakes in the initial years of my career. However, I don’t recall them as funny but rather as lessons to be learned. What I’ve learned from my mistakes is to stay calm at all times, no matter how big of a trouble it is. Everything can be made to work in your favor with a well-thought strategy and careful planning.

Another thing I’ve learned is to manage finances and always have a plan B to implement during tough times. You never know when you’ll be in a troublesome situation, so you must have enough to survive and thrive during unforeseen circumstances.

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?

When it comes to guidance and support, I have to say I’ve been fortunate. My family has been my biggest support throughout my journey toward founding and growing my company, particularly my brother. He’s the one person I’ve always relied on for sound advice regarding any business matter. Besides, I don’t call back a single situation where he aided me, as there were multiple times he helped me deal with and emerge sturdier out of a problematic situation.

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?

That’s one thought-provoking question. I’ve always wanted to be known for something. My mission has always been to create a safe space that allows creative individuals complete artistic freedom. So, when I started Anideos, my vision was to use that platform as a productive workplace where everyone’s innovative ideas are valued and encouraged to perform to the best of their capabilities. Being an animation and tech company, I guess this really helped us grow swiftly in the initial years and revolutionize the industry with fresh ideas.

Besides talking about new ideas, I never wanted to do what others were already doing. Instead, I wanted to bring something unique to the table. Since day one, I’ve been working to develop a creative edge — one that sets us apart from our rivals and makes an everlasting impact. Knowing the market’s future, we’re all set to make the right moves and gain the benefits the animation and tech industry has to offer.

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?

People are more capable than we often give them credit for. One thing I have learned from my experience is to gather devoted people and give them the freedom to experiment and make mistakes. One of the stories that come to my mind is back when we were transitioning from a startup to a full-grown corporation. We had big clients on board, and the teams were growing exponentially. It was pretty overwhelming as, unlike previously, I was not as connected with everyone in my organization as I initially was. I believe that was the reality check for me.

Here’s the approach that I took and also recommend others to take when dealing with such a situation:

I sat down with my new employees and shared my vision for the organization, for them, and the community as a whole. I suppose the most important thing at this stage was not to make it all about myself but rather focus on the people involved.

Next, I made sure to conduct regular meetings with the department heads and team leaders for brainstorming sessions — to discuss what we have achieved so far and what we can further do. These insightful sessions were a safe space for everyone to share their ideas and issues faced. I still practice this and recommend other aspiring leaders to do so.

Uncertain times are when you have to encourage your people and have their back so they can achieve their best. Lastly, no matter how compelling it may seem, micromanaging your team at a time of uncertainty is a sure way to doom.

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

Starting a business from the ground up is no piece of cake. Likewise, I believe every individual has to go through their fair share of challenges and hardships. I’ve also had my own, but they have never stopped me from working toward my goals. My urge to get better and learn new things from each experience didn’t let me give up. I look for the positives in each scenario and think about what and where I am lacking instead.

Sometimes it’s okay to feel a little demotivated. However, I believe you cannot keep pushing yourself onward when your heart isn’t in it. Going through challenging and turbulent times might make you question your worth — that’s when you need to remind yourself why you started in the first place.

In tough times, taking a break to think and reflect helps me sustain my drive toward excellence. Recognizing small accomplishments also motivates me to continue working towards larger, more complex goals.

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?

Well, I don’t read a lot, but I appreciate great books with sage advice on a wide range of subjects. One book I recall reading is ‘The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.’ The book highlights the importance of kindness, vulnerability, listening, and self-care, which are all valuable lessons for leaders to remember.

This heartwarming and beautifully-illustrated book has many hidden insights and lessons for leaders. For instance, it highlights the importance of leaders being kind and compassionate, especially during challenging times. It enlightened me about the importance of showing empathy and understanding toward team members, which can help create a supportive work environment.

The book also emphasizes the importance of taking care of oneself. So I also believe it’s essential for leaders to prioritize self-care and ensure that they’re upkeeping their physical, mental, and emotional well-being, which can help them be more present and effective as a leader.

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

During uncertain times, the most critical role of a leader is to provide clear direction and guidance while maintaining a sense of stability and confidence. Leaders must be able to adapt to changing circumstances quickly and make difficult decisions in the face of uncertainty.

Employees look to their leaders in times of hardship to gauge how intense a situation might be. So, a leader must remain calm under pressure and motivate their team to do the same. They must also foster transparent communication, be honest about challenges that lie ahead, and offer a realistic assessment of the situation so that employees know what exactly is expected of them.

Besides, I believe a leader must be able to lead by example. They should model the behavior they expect from their team and demonstrate resilience and determination in the face of challenges. By doing so, leaders can create a sense of unity and purpose to help their team or organization overcome any obstacle.

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?

The future is never certain — as a leader, you must have a Plan B in place to deal with whatever hurdles come your way. As with keeping your team motivated and engaged, a little effort can go a long way. What has worked best for me is mutual respect and trust.

Most of the time, we are too focused on long-term achievements that we fail to celebrate the small wins along the way. As a leader, highlighting the progress made so far and celebrating small victories can help boost employees’ morale and keep them driven. It may be done through verbal praise, public recognition, or small tokens of appreciation.

When employees know they’re being valued, they tend to work to the finest of their abilities — a win-win situation for both. But remember, it’s an ongoing effort and requires a commitment to creating a positive work environment and investing in your employees’ growth and well-being.

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

That’s truly one of the most unpleasant parts of a leader’s job. I’ve also had a hard time conveying unpleasant news to my team and customers. But over the years, I’ve figured out how to deal with it effectively — in a way that doesn’t come off as too harsh.

Firstly, don’t try to sugarcoat things, be as straightforward and honest as you can. Provide context and information on what has happened, what it has happened, and what steps you are taking to address the situation. Ensure to choose the suitable communication method depending on the severity of the news and the intended audience. In my opinion, a face-to-face meeting works best. A video conference might just be appropriate if you have a remote team, while an email or press may be fit for customers.

Whatever you do, try to stay empathetic. Even if you have to be tough, let your team or customers know you acknowledge and accept their feelings. Be compassionate about how the news may impact them professionally and personally.

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

The years 2020, 2021, and 2022 threw a whole lot of curveballs into businesses globally. Likewise, this year plus the upcoming years, won’t be any different. Acknowledging that we’re living in an unpredictable world, the best way for leaders to plan is by taking an honest look at their business performance in the past year. Set realistic goals by reflecting on past failures and accomplishments. Be sure to leave room for flexibility in your plans so that they can be molded as circumstances change.

Moreover, be prepared for everything and always have a backup plan. Stay abreast of advancements and changes in your industry or area of focus, and be open to adapting your plans based on new information.

Another great tip; don’t shy away from collaborative-decision making. Involve others in the planning process to gather diverse perspectives and expertise. This way, leaders can identify blind spots and make better-informed decisions.

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

Well, there are a couple of principles that can help a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times. But if I have to name one, I’d say resilience. The ability to withstand and adapt to changes while maintaining a sense of purpose is what you need the most during challenging times.

By prioritizing resilience, companies can weather turbulent times and emerge stronger and more adaptable than before. This may involve investing in technologies and processes that improve operational flexibility, diversifying supply chains and revenue streams, and cultivating a culture of innovation and continuous learning.

Now assumedly, if you ask how to build resilience, it all starts with a proactive mindset. Approach challenges as opportunities for growth and transformation rather than insurmountable obstacles. By embracing change and uncertainty, companies can position themselves to thrive long-term, even as the business landscape continues to evolve.

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?

Some little but substantial mistakes that businesses should avoid making in difficult times are:

Too Much Emphasis on Short-Term Gains — It’s normal for businesses to feel pressured and focus more on short-term gains rather than long-term growth. As a result, it can lead to indecisive decisions prioritizing immediate revenue over building a sustainable business model. But that’s something they shouldn’t do — instead, make decisions that support the overall vision and values.

Failing to Focus on Cash Flow — I’ve seen businesses make this mistake quite often. During challenging times, businesses may find themselves drawn into financial difficulties due to poor cash flow management. To avoid that, they must create a cash flow forecast that considers all their inflows and outflows of cash and identify areas to cut expenses or consider alternative funding sources.

Overlooking Employee Needs — Failing to focus on retaining key employees and their needs leads to low morale, mismanagement, and high turnover — which I bet no business would certainly want during such times. Businesses must look for ways to prioritize employees’ well-being and support them to keep pace and evolve with the change.

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.

Lead with Empathy. Your employees are your greatest asset, and during uncertain times, it’s more vital than ever to take care of them. It’s the number one rule to keep your team engaged, motivated, and productive. Uncertainty fuels anxiety; thus, a leader must be honest and stay empathetic to the fears and concerns of their people at all times.

For me, every individual matters. So, I try my best to stay updated with my employees’ concerns and look for ways to resolve them as quickly as possible. I’ve realized making time for one-on-one conversations with my team and being empathetic toward their needs fosters trust and a positive work environment.

Stay Agile and Adaptable. When times are uncertain, a leader must be ready to face all kinds of odds. To remain effective, they must be keen to adopt new strategies and plans in real-time. A business leader must also stay open to fresh ideas and feedback from employees and be willing to pivot as needed.

Throughout my professional life, I’ve focused on being adaptable: keeping up with technological and business trends, interpreting change to help customers make decisions, and guiding employees along their career paths.

Be Solution-oriented. It’s very easy to point out the negatives and concentrate on the issues that fuel stress and flawed thinking during stormy days. To inspire workforces to stick with the company through difficult times, leaders must set an example, communicate effectively, and put ideas into action that let people believe that everything will be okay.

Adopting a solution-oriented mindset always works for me. I always keep my company’s end goal in mind to understand the root cause of a situation and choose the best course of action to keep moving forward. I advise all aspiring leaders to encourage creativity and open-mindedness when taking action. Consider all options, even those that may seem unconventional.

Be Present and Communicate Often. During difficult times, employees, stakeholders, and customers crave clarity and reassurance. They look to their leaders for guidance and support. A leader must show up and lead by example so that the people know the leader is willing to step up and take charge. Besides, it’s necessary that leaders’ goals are heard firsthand and not by other company members so as not to mislead and misinterpret them.

When I started the company, there were a few people, so communication was simple and swift. Yet, as the number grew, it got harder for me to continue interacting with every employee. Now that we have a big team, I feel like it’s one of my most crucial responsibilities. I grab every opportunity I can to speak directly with my employees.

Make Long-term Plans. While being flexible and nimble in the short term is crucial, having a long-term strategy in place is equally critical. As a leader, you should consider how your business will weather the current storm and come out stronger on the other side. Set up your business for long-term success by investing in your staff, infrastructure, and strategic initiatives. Be ready to make tough decisions when necessary.

Here’s a little advice for all the new leaders reading: you may not be able to control the economy, but you can control how you manage your finances. Besides, it’s never too late to seek advice from experts in your field or industry. They might enlighten you with insights or ideas you haven’t considered yet.

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

‘’It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.’’

When I heard this saying somewhere years back, I was immediately intrigued, considering how well I can relate it to my life. This quote takes me back to when I was zealous about founding a business of my own and summarizes the efforts I took to get to where I am today. I use it as a prompt to never lose faith in my potential to achieve the extraordinary.

After all, you can’t expect your business to succeed overnight, especially during difficult times. You have to sweat over it first and figure out how to put your ideas into action and make them a reality.

How can our readers further follow your work?

To follow my work, please connect with me on LinkedIn. Or, keep an eye on our business website,

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

Sherry Khan of Anideos On Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain &… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.