Career Advice

6 Ways To Lead Effectively During A Crisis

Multi ethnic young business team working on computers.

COVID-19 has not only impacted the economic job market but has also shifted thousands of organisational structures, forcing leaders to make difficult decisions regarding laying off employees and downsizing teams. During these uncertain times, morale is tested, leaving the most competent of leaders questioning their abilities and the future of their companies.

While daunting, experiencing a global crisis does provide the opportunity for managers and executives to sharpen their leadership toolkit, as many of their colleagues are looking to them for guidance and direction on what to do next. The novel coronavirus has added more stress to teams as there aren’t any concrete answers. Additionally, uncertainty about COVID-19 goes beyond the workplace as it’s a 24/7 concern employees have for themselves as well as their loved ones and surrounding communities.

Now more than ever, as leaders , it’s essential to exercise transparent, timely, empathetic, and open communication with employees to foster trust while solidifying leadership capabilities. Amid this pandemic, employees need to believe that their organisation can handle the crisis while keeping their best interests in mind. It’s best to take a human approach to guide your time during this crisis, as everyone is experiencing this pandemic and processing it differently. Here are some tips you can leverage to lead effectively during any sustained period of stress.

Manage expectations

During any crisis, you won’t have all the answers for your team but will still need to remain confident, as your team will be expecting direction and guidance from you. It’s your responsibility to align the expectations and realities of your team while exercising insight and patience. Great leaders can eloquently manage their team’s expectations of them by communicating early and often, and admitting that they don’t have all the answers.

Be transparent and practice empathy

Even though this is a difficult time, your employees and organisation are relying on you to remain optimistic and transparent. Focus on the strengths, successes, opportunities of your team. As a leader, it’s essential to exude trust, optimism, and positive energy to help build up the morale of your team, especially when your colleagues might not have the capacity to exhibit those characteristics.

Compromise and strive for solutions

Now is the time for collaboration and not any in-team fighting. Encourage your team to be understanding of each other’s viewpoints and strive for solutions. It’s essential to show your teams and colleagues that you’re able to compromise and problem-solve to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.

See the bigger picture

The strength of a leader is in their vision. The best leaders can see the “bigger picture” and visualise the potential impact of strategies and projects before others can. During any crisis, leaders have to be adaptable and comfortable with what they can’t see.

Establish order over control

During uncertain times, risk and ambiguity among teams increase because everything is ever-changing. A common trap for leaders is trying to control everything, which causes team members to become less responsive and resentful. A solution is to seek order versus control. Establish which decisions need to be made by you and then delegate to a trusted team member to handle the rest.

Pour your leadership skills into your team

Leaders get stronger as they invest time in their teams and help develop other leaders. Strong leaders don’t seek credit or involvement in every decision; they want to empower and elevate their people by developing other leaders.