Leadership in Times of Crisis
As leaders, there are times that additional demands may be placed upon you, and in the normal course of our jobs we generally accept that as part of the role. In circumstances such as the COVID19 Pandemic, there will be extraordinary and unexpected demands, as we operate in an environment that we have not experienced before and that is constantly changing. Here are 5 Tips for Leadership in Times of Crisis:
- Stay Calm
People look to their leaders in times of crisis and take notice of their behaviours and language. Your ability to stay calm in these times will influence your team’s ability to do the same. If they perceive panic and fear, they will respond the same way and chaos will follow.
- Deal in Facts and Build Trust
In times of crisis, the rumour mill will go into overdrive – “The business is going to shut down”; “Half of the workforce is going to be laid off”; “We are all taking pay cuts”.
Stay abreast of information and business decisions. Deal in facts – understand the reality of what is occurring. Be the voice that is trusted and reliable.
- Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
Communicate often and communicate clearly. Tell your team what you know and what you don’t know. Tell them what you are doing to find out more. Be transparent and honest. Your people can handle the truth. In times such as these where there is uncertainty and constant change, consider the frequency of providing information and the various formats that will be required to deliver the message. Remember, you may have people working from home and they need to be kept informed. Don’t allow them to feel isolated through lack of communication. Tools such as Zoom may be key.
Remember, communication is a two-way street. Be prepared to answer questions, address concerns and listen to feedback.
- Be Empathetic
Times of crisis affect people in different ways. Be prepared to consider the impact this is having on your people. Support your people and make sure they are aware where they can access additional support such as Employee Assistance Programs.
- Innovate and Be Flexible
We are operating in an environment we have not previously experienced and our traditional ways of ‘doing business’ are not sustainable in this environment. How can we do things differently?; How do we become more nimble?; How do we respond quickly?; What is our decision making process?
Engage your teams – they will have the ideas. Encourage and facilitate ideas for innovation and change.