Leadership in times of crisis
Although it is likely that what I am going to talk about in this blog is nothing new for many of my readers, I felt it was my obligation to share my thoughts with you during this global pandemic.
When I worked at GE several years ago, we used to discuss the importance of Leadership Traits during our strategic meetings. The content of this blog post leverages those conversations. I hope you find value in what you read.
One of the Leadership Traits that takes center stage and becomes very important in times of crisis is: INCLUSIVENESS.
An INCLUSIVE leader is defined as somebody who:
Can energize teams through connection with people
Builds loyalty and commitment
Is flexible in approach to motivate and retain talent and appeals to the unique interests of each team member
Builds a connection to the workforce through personal involvement and trust
Engages people to want to perform
Promotes an environment that recognizes and celebrates individual and cultural differences
Develops others, provides feedback, coaching and developmental assignments.
I would urge you, as a leader, to be aware of the need to be INCLUSIVE during these very trying times, embrace, adopt and use the best practices of Inclusiveness and encourage your leaders to do the same.
So, here are some of the things you should be doing:
Communicate frequently: Keep everyone informed of what is going on in the company, what important decisions are being considered, what steps are you taking to mitigate the impact of the crisis, how do these actions impact the employees, hold virtual Town Hall meetings, encourage employees to express their concerns and contribute with suggestions (you can use FAQ´s, online suggestion boxes, etc.).
Assign an “ambassador” as a representative of each group. People can be grouped by department, function, location, project, etc. The ambassador´s primary role would be to make sure everyone understands what is going on, listen to concerns, engage with and accompany employees, “hand-hold” (virtually, remember to social distance!) them as they navigate in these difficult times. The ambassador should meet with the group (virtually) once a week. In some hospitals in the US, the staff is doing this and they call them “Hope Huddles”.
Celebrate anything positive: We are inundated with negative news. So it really helps to be able to celebrate during a time of crisis. So, share whatever positive news you can, whether they be business results, individual or group achievements, a good idea that somebody came up with, personal stories that you can share, something that everyone can laugh about, etc.
Keep Safe and Healthy – This too shall pass!