Difference between a teleconference, video conference, and telepresence. Crises force leaders to think and behave in ways that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Whether a natural, economic, technological, or health crisis — at work or in the community — a crisis will demand that a leader act as soon as possible. A leader will have to take an emergency response into their own hands and help their employees or business adapt to their new environment, all the while keeping the peace, certainty, and perspectives in mind when making difficult decisions. The biggest thing to remember when leading in a crisis is to remain calm, and the main goal is to reduce loss and keep things operating as normal as possible.
Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we need to be able to lead with grace and integrity. Here are five tips for all leaders in an organization to help prepare and take action in a crisis.
Seek Credible Information
Not that everyone doesn’t have a bias, but some avenues are more honest with themselves than others. Also, some topics can gain momentum when the truth is twisted just a hair. News travels fast; for some reason hearsay faster. Always check the facts at the source or those who are closest to the issue. With so many parties drawing sides, granted, it is sometimes hard to weed through. Use reputation and character, of those providing the information, to guide you. Also, there are plenty of fact-checking sites out there as well to help and more are growing or are being developed to help confirm reputation. When “The sky is falling!”, we need to choose reason over emotion.
Use Appropriate Communication Channels
Once all of the essential information is gathered, it should be distributed to every employee throughout the company. Transparency is key when being a leader in the workplace. To appropriately discuss these situations in the workplace, you need to do it face-to-face or through a virtual network. Our team at Groff NetWorks uses Microsoft Teams, but there are a plethora of channels that can be used. When telling the news to the team. make sure you use the 3 Rs: Review, Repeat, Reinforce. Repeating and reinforcing information on a daily basis and sending written documents to employees will better help them retain and understand the information given.
Be Clear About Your Actions
During a crisis, it seems as though time is compressed. The first step to dealing with a crisis is to take action and quickly. Sometimes during a crisis, you will not have the opportunity to fully understand the situation completely before making a decision on what to do for the organization during the crisis. A crisis can happen in an instant; the recovery can take weeks, months, possibly a year to handle. But when taking action, make sure your actions are being clearly communicated to your organization and employees. Make sure you are being completely honest and truthful about your actions and are explaining the reasoning behind them to your employees.
Be Present, Visible, and Available
A Leader should be all three of these things all the time but even more so during a crisis. Since it is not always possible for someone with an executive title to always come around and chat to all employees, you should have an easily accessible way for all employees to reach you, whether that’s having access to your calendar to see your available times to chat or sending out a private phone or email to them. Letting employees know you are present and available is key, especially during a crisis. During a crisis, employees have a need to hear from their leaders more often so they won’t feel alone during it. When a leader seems calm and collected during a crisis, workers feel encouraged and are more likely to have confidence.
Dedicate resources for the future
As time passes, you can then evolve a more complex company plan to accommodate employees for future crisis situations. When creating an emergency plan, make sure you ask yourself and your team if they will be prepared, should another crisis hit. While improvisation cannot be planned, thinking and team-building exercises can be built into a training program that prepares everyone for a similar, future crisis.