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Leading Through Crisis

In working with my clients, I am seeing a common question:

“How can I be a more effective leader during this crisis?”

This virus is turning out to be a critical leadership stress test. It has challenged most companies in virtually every way and is challenging leaders everywhere to bring their A-game. To complicate it further, you are asked to do so while you yourselves are facing incredible challenges.

Gallup gathered research from previous crises times, and in sharing some of their findings with you, I challenge you to improve your effectiveness as a leader in today’s climate. You’re going to need to take some notes.

Employee’s have 4 fundamental needs – trust, stability, compassion and hope. Alarmingly, their poll showed only about 1/2 of employees believe their employer has communicated a clear plan of action in response to the virus and only 25% felt their leaders are successfully managing emerging challenges.

When the whole world has changed, employees need steady leadership the most.

3 strategies for leading effectively during this crisis

  1. Employees need trust and compassion

    Be present, even when you’re distant.

    • Communicate authentically via video. Don’t be afraid to show some emotion; be genuine and grounded. Speak confidently. Communicate challenges early and often. Always tell the truth.
    • Share your optimism and hope, but don’t feed them full of fluff. They can sense bologna a mile away.

      The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.

      – John Maxwell

    • Top level leaders –

      increase your face-to-face time with the managers. They need to see you and talk to you. They need your support and they need your compassion.

    • Stay calm. Crisis is fueled when composure is missing. Take care of yourself so that you can be fully present. You must embody agility and patience.
  2. Employees need stability

    Prioritize well being amid this disruption.

    • We are not just talking about their physical well being here. Most companies have prioritized that out of necessity but now it’s time to look at people’s financial, social, community and career well being.
    • Emotional exhaustion is debilitating and affects performance too.
  3. Employees need hope

    Anchor to your True North.

    • All eyes are on you. People look to the leaders – like when you experience turbulence on a flight, you look to the flight attendant to read his/her verbal and non-verbal response – to see how you should react.
    • Ask yourself

      What is your companies greater good?

      Yes, it’s marketing and design but go deeper. How does what you do as a company and as a team go deeper than that?

      How does your work today help the people you serve make a living. How does your work today make a positive impact during these times?

    • Stay anchored to things that truly matter.
    • Encourage your team to go the extra mile and show extra compassion to their clients.
    • There will be a day when we can look back and take the lessons from this time, but today is not the day. Today is about protecting your employees well being, focusing on great leadership and leading with purpose.

Ask Your Workforce These Covid-19 Pulse Questions

Understand how corona virus disruptions are affecting your employees. Use these Gallup-developed pulse questions to make sure you’re meting the needs of your workers.

  1. My leadership has a clear plan of action.

    Current Gallup tracking shows only 39% of US employers strongly agree that their employer has communicated a clear plan of action

  2. I feel well prepared to do my job.

    54% strongly agree that right now they feel well-prepared to do their work. Leaders must go back to the basics of clarifying expectations, reviewing material and equipment needs, readjusting roles and leveraging the strengths of those you lead. Show your team how they fit into the bigger picture of the organization.

  3. My supervisor keeps me informed about what is going on.

    Only 48% strongly agree that their immediate supervisor keeps them informed about what is going on in the organization as it relates to the impact of Covid-19. As the managers, only you can know your team’s situation, keep them informed, adjust expectations, coach and hold accountable those you lead.

  4. My organization cares about my well being.

    Prior to Covid, there was an established blend of work and life. Now it’s much more complicated and has created an unprecedented stress on employees health and well being. With the work-from-home model, and millions of kids home from school, most find themselves in a very tricky situation.

    However, a key predictor of low worry and high confidence is where your team believes and experiences that the organization is looking out for their overall well being. This includes their career, social, financial, community and physical well being.

    Only 45% agree that their organization cares about their overall well being.

Create your survey today and send it out to your team to see how you’re doing. What can you do better? Give them a voice, take their feedback and make the pivots needed to be your best!

You’ve got this!