There are many roles that leaders are asked to perform from creating a vision, inspiring people, driving change, building momentum and leading their people to success.
One of the hardest roles is leading people in times of crisis and we are seeing this now as the threat of the Coronavirus pandemic becomes greater.
Often in times of crisis, there is fear and uncertainty, and if leadership doesn’t look to bring some certainty and calm, then this can lead to full-blown panic.
Here are five things that you can do as a leader to help people through a crisis.
This is critical as people need to know that they can trust their leader, and it will help to bring credibility.
If there are things that are not known, don’t lie or make up facts, because people see through this, and then they wonder what else what you are keeping from them.
It’s ok to say we don’t know yet, but let people know it’s being worked on and give a timeframe for when more information will be available.
Even though we might not know everything, we can still tell people what we do know and give them some direction. It might not be the complete answer, but at least it allows them to take some action.
Fear and uncertainty comes from people feeling powerless, so by giving people some direction empowers them to take some action, and this will help reduce these feelings of powerlessness.
Consistency breed certainty, so we need to be consistent in our messages and actions. If things change and this causes us to make a change then we need to explain why we have had this change of direction. At least here we are being consistent about our openness and honesty.
Leadership defines culture, and when leadership is calm and confident this will help keep everyone else remain calm and confident.
Even if you have your own doubts don’t share them. This doesn’t mean lie about out, but it means looking highlight the positives, the opportunities.
Confidence is a force multiplier.
Dithering is not a good look.
You can deliberate, but you have to make decisions, you have to be decisive. Make sure you get the right input, but once you have that pick a path and communicate it.
In a crisis you’re not going to get everything right, and people will understand that. But if you can be honest, provide direction, remain consistent, show confidence and make decisions, even the tough decisions, then it will help keep people calm and confident all of which will help people make it through the crisis.