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Five Ways to Lead in Times of Crisis

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We are definitely feeling the stresses and the strain that living the quarantined life is having in our lives.  Whether it be professionally, personally, or even emotionally.  In times of crisis, it may seem like a daunting task to lead your team, especially when there are so many uncertainties in our nation with the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Instead of social distancing, Project RELO is using this time to socialize with you from a distance.  Below are five ways that you can demonstrate leadership to your teams during these trying times…

Don’t Allow Your Emotions To Get The Best Of You

In times of crisis, leaders perpetually find themselves in the midst of a stressful and tense atmosphere. There are vast mental, physical and psychological pressures that can lead you to become disconcerted or perhaps even yell at those around you (Not a good thing to do during quarantine). Instead, stop and apprehend that you have a lot more control than you think you do. Now is the time to take charge of your thoughts, emotions and the way you deal with problems. With time, good leaders become proficient and skilled at exercising self-control. and just like your kids, your employee’s actions will emulate yours. Allowing emotions to get the better of you can cause your subordinates to lose faith in your abilities. Employees can interpret this as a loss of control. “If you’re going through hell, keep going!” Winston Churchill

Celebrate All Victories Both Large and Small

This means even more recognition of the adaptive actions that get positive results. Don’t over-hype the small gains. To use some lingo from the baseball field, home runs are sexy, but it’s the singles and doubles that allow you to emerge stronger and persevere throughout the game. “Leadership is the ability to get extraordinary achievement from ordinary people.” Brian Tracy

Communicate Often

During a crisis, you want to be constantly communicating with your audiences — internally with employees, partners, and board members, and externally with customers, investors, and reporters. Sometimes, you may even want to solicit ideas from them, because they may have the breakthrough idea you’ve been looking for. Treat the crisis like the breaking news story that it is and ask yourself each day what your audiences need to know that day and the next day and the one after that. You can never over communicate in a crisis. “The biggest communication problem is that we listen to reply, not to understand.” James Cummings

Before Asking Others to Sacrifice, First Volunteer Yourself

If there are sacrifices to be made – and there will be – then the leaders should step up and make the greatest sacrifices themselves. Crises are the real tests of leaders’ true north. Everyone is watching to see what the leaders do. Will they stay true to their core values? Will they concede to external pressures, or will they confront the crisis in a straightforward manner? Will they be seduced by short-term rewards, or will they make near-term sacrifices in order to fix the long-term situation? We have seen many layoffs, furloughs, and companies declaring bankruptcy during these tough times. But is we refer to the previous tip, and communicate with our people, you will see that sometimes leaders need to do what is best for their people, not their business. You take care of the people, the people will take care of the rest. Want to see extraordinary leaders? Type “CEOs giving up salaries in hard times” into your search engine… Read the impact they made in their companies. “I took a seven-figure pay cut in order to afford my employees during this crisis, and my life has gotten richer for it. I feel a bigger sense of purpose and harmony in my life knowing that we as a team are proving that there’s a better way to do business.” Dan Price, CEO Gravity Payments

Be Present, Visible, and Available

Don’t be a Lieutenant Dike! If you have ever watched the HBO series Band of Brothers, you will understand that reference. Leaders must always be present. Even in the face of insurmountable obstacles. During a crisis, leaders should be accessible. Because right now it is not possible to walk around your facility and talk to colleagues in person, let employees know how they can best reach you with status updates and questions. Particularly during a crisis, employees have a need to hear from their leaders frequently. When leaders appear calm, concerned, knowledgeable, and in charge, workers feel encouraged and are more likely to have confidence that things are under control and will be fine. “As a leader, part of the job is to be visible and willing to communicate with everyone.” Bill Walsh

Times of crisis test us and define us. We don’t have to have all the answers or pretend that we do. We simply need to be willing to stay connected, to tell the truth, and to convey hope. We owe it to ourselves and to the people we care about to be this kind of leader.

Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy!