Whether you’re an SME or a corporate giant, there’s one thing that continues to unite successful organisations across the globe during a crisis - leadership. It can make or break a business, empower or disengage employees or culminate in the rise of fall of management. The burden of leading during a pandemic may feel overwhelming but there’s an opportunity to learn from others’ - both in terms of what works and avoiding crippling pitfalls.
Here’s our top tips for leading teams and managing people throughout every stage of a crisis.
- Never stop leading
- Be calm, communicative and consistent
- Lead by example
- Don't always rely on your hunch
- Feedback is your friend
Never stop leading.
As you go into the eye of the storm, a lot of your time and energy can be absorbed by crisis management. A great leader and manager knows that a crisis scenario can change at pace, sometimes when you least expect it. Do not take your foot off the accelerator even when you feel there are blue skies ahead. Your people need your consistent presence and communication throughout. Continuity is king.
Lead through calmness, clear communication and consistency.
Your employees and workers will look to you to understand how to feel and/or react. It’s a time to ensure you prepare for any communications with sensitivity and clear facts. People thrive on social interaction so embrace open channels of communication with your teams….and don’t stop. Be with your people at every step of the journey (have a tangible video presence where possible) and maintain focus.
Lead by example.
Many employees, including senior managers, won’t have ever experienced working through a crisis before. Equally some team members may harbour negative connotations based on previous experiences. It may sound obvious that you need to lead by example but you also need to evidence and showcase this in order to stand out from the media and noise. You can do this by:
- sharing your plans - tell them what you are doing and when
- put regular times in to agree a plan and review progress
- share results regularly and ask them to do the same
- put time in to celebrate as a team
Don’t always rely on your hunch.
Many leaders have a sixth sense but relying on a ‘hunch’ can prove catastrophic during a crisis. Listen to your entrepreneurial gut instinct but use the data available to you to ensure you validate any decisions. This might include anything from external social listening to reviewing management data. Then guide your teams based on hard facts, not stories. It will give them the reassurance they need.
Feedback is your friend.
In this crisis more than any, where we feel the impact of social distancing, feedback really is a gift. Invite constructive feedback from your people and use it to inform your communications and strategy. Showcase how you have listened to their feedback and how you intend to respond to it.
If you would like to speak with one of our specialists for further advice or a discussion about your recruitment needs, please contact us.