Focus Where It Matters
- Ask yourself, and others, ‘What do people need from me right now?’ It might not be what they usually need from you.
- Connect with your team members individually. What do they need to manage the new challenges they face during this crisis? Ask them what will enable them to be at their best and what support they need from their leaders.
- Send signals of support. Consider how can you make this crisis as safe for your people as possible and show understanding for their worries? ‘How can you think practically about what could make things easier?’
- Communicate often. Recognize that misinformation and rumors are a normal part of crises which increase people’s anxiety and stress. Set up a regular cadence of communication to keep your teams informed about the status of the business. Create clear lines of communication and support for people to reach out to with their questions.
Acknowledge The Unique Context
- Be compassionate. Keep in mind that everyone is in uncharted territory. It’s hard for people to be their best selves when they’re scared.
- Accept that no matter what, some things are going to go wrong. This can’t be a time when your leadership centers around control or perfection.
- Remember you aren’t in this alone. Work with other leaders to share ideas and find unity. Make sure you reach out for support if you are feeling overwhelmed
- Use the chaos to make change. Everyone’s assumptions are being challenged. Use the change around you to make changes that you will be glad of later. The action focus that comes from a crisis, could be used to fix problems, or make more radical changes that you know will be of benefit in the long run.
Lead For Tomorrow
- Take the long view. This won’t go on forever. How can your team stay connected to the world you want to create when this is over?
- Plan for sustainability. None of us know how long this may last or how severe the impact may be, but we do know you need your people, your business and yourself to still be in good shape at the end of it – prevent burnout.
- Your leadership impact. Ask yourself, what do you want people to say and remember about you from this time? What values do you want to role model?
- Share good news. Pass along information about people’s return to health and parts of the business that are still performing or finding new ways to move forward.
- Prioritize self-care. We are all human; do not pretend that you have super powers to get you through this. It’s really important for you to be your best self and bring your best game right now. Make sure you are taking your own advice, if recommending to others to look after themselves at this time.
- Recognize the impact of stress on the body and brain. While crises can feel emotional in nature, there is a measurable impact on the body and brain. We have a brain-body response to stressful challenges that includes chemical and hormone release to help us react and regulate to an external threat in the environment. In a situation of chronic stress, the stress response system remains active, continually flooding the body with adrenaline, cortisol and other hormones. The process creates fatigue due to being turned on for so long. Attending to the basics is critical to decrease the chronic impact, such as eating well, sleeping enough and getting regular exercise.
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