This is an unprecedented time for us and it’s a time in which you and I both need to grow and stretch.
But, this is not a path of linear growth. This health crisis and imminent economic recession require transformation. It calls for us to transform our thinking and to transform ourselves.
I’m committed to providing you the resources you need during this time (and beyond) to be your best self and the best leader you can be for others. I’m all-in on helping you make the right changes that change everything for you and your team.
This is an incredibly important time for all leaders because a crisis can either make or break you.
It can catapult you forward and build your reputation as a calm, focused, trustworthy, caring and courageous leader or it can slow you down in your career because your actions and reactions cause your team members to lose trust in you at which point you lost your ability to truly lead.
And I want you to be the former of the two!
Here’s a thought from history: the five-star General George Marshall – the only American general to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize – offered up this advice back in the middle of a world war:
“The truly great leader overcomes all difficulties…the lack of equipment, the lack of food, the lack of this or that are only excuses; the real leader displays this quality in his triumphs over adversity, however great it may be.”
If people trust a confident leader and believe that he or she has their best interests in mind, they will support their leader through the toughest of times.
Here are 4 simple, yet powerful things you can do this week that will build the right foundation for you to effectively lead through this crisis:
- Openly acknowledge that a problem or challenge exists and present a way of action. Clearly lay out the team’s priorities this week and communicate your expectations.
- Establish a channel for feedback. Set up a process with which your employees can (anonymously) share their concerns and issues. This could be a free (possibly anonymous) Google form or a tool such as Free Suggestion Box http://freesuggestionbox.com/ or Poll Everywhere https://www.polleverywhere.com/
- Communicate proactively and judiciously. Crises spawn fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation – if a vacuum of knowledge exists, people will manufacture information to fill it (and it’s usually not to your benefit). The 10x10x10 rule applies here: Say something 10 times in 10 different ways for people to retain 10%. You’re probably not communicating enough unless you feel like you’re going blue in the face repeating the priorities and areas to focus on, as things change and morph.
- Apply a non-binary approach to your decision making. There are almost always more options besides “do it” and “don’t do it” if you can be creative about how you solve problems together with your team. For example, instead of saying “we don’t want to lay off people but we can’t keep up the payroll” (which makes it be perceived as if there is no other option) replace the “but” with an “and”. E.g. we don’t want to lay off people AND we can’t keep up the payroll. Now, this opens up our brains to think of other possibilities. For example, could we reduce full-time work to 80%? Could we negotiate pay? Could we offer early retirement or unpaid vacation? And so on.
As I said in the beginning, great leadership is crucial right now. And there is perhaps one silver lining, which is that this crisis represents an opportunity for leaders to step up and to step into their fullest potential in the face of adversity.