8 Steps Leaders should take to safely navigate through any crisis
[4 min read]
How to be the human-centred leader that people turn to for direction and support.
When our team or organisation (or even the entire world) is faced with immense challenges, people turn to their leaders for direction and support. Chances are that the situation is also new and daunting for the leaders themselves and they are required to adapt swiftly to a changed environment or even an entire business landscape.
In order to steer the team safely through these periods of adapting, they must be equipped with the right set of leadership tools and strategies. We recently came across a playbook developed by management consulting company “Korn Ferry” which immensely impressed us*. So much so, that we would like to share their “8 Steps a Leader can take now”:
Step 1 – Be purposeful
- Constantly remind people why it is so important that we exist.
- See this crisis as a new way to purposefully serve colleagues and customers in new, meaningful, value-creating ways.
- Leverage purpose as a new tool of innovation; purpose can touch lives in new ways.
Step 2 - Be empathetic
- Acknowledge others’ stress in this situation.
- Know that people are also struggling with personal and family issues beneath the business issues.
- Show you care about them versus the enterprise only.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Step 3 - Be calm, clear, and confident
- Communicate with realness, clarity, authenticity, and regularity: tell the real story.
- Express a vision of the other side of this; elevate from now to next.
- Convert anxiety to the attitude “we will get through this together.”
Step 4 - Be both action oriented and reflective
- Reconcile the paradox of pause and action; both are critical.
- Avoid being too passive or too hyperactive during these times.
- Step back to reflect, learn, and strategise when the pace and bias for action are too high.
Step 5 - Be inspiring
- Share stories that reveal the enduring values and what is really important now.
- Remember the purpose of the organisation and rally people around it.
- See the crisis as an opportunity to more deeply live and serve our people and customers.
Step 6 - Be resilient
- Take care of your energy, wellness, and fitness.
- Encourage others to take care of themselves, and demonstrate by modelling it.
- Show your energy to take on these challenges with energy and innovation.
Step 7 - Be aware of mindsets
- Move from fixed/fear mindsets to growth mindsets.
- Know that our openness and closedness opens or closes others.
- Catch yourself in fixed/fear mindsets and move to growth mindsets before acting or behaving.
Step 8 - Be courageous
- Make the tough decisions on purpose and with courage.
- Pay attention to fear-based, reactive decisions.
- Inspire others with your courage, energy, and positivity.
The Korn Ferry report further contains 10 practical solutions to engage and support your teams through the changes that are happening right now.
- Frequent, honest, consistent and personal communication – there is no such thing as overcommunicating as long as it is personal and not simply a flood of email instructions
- Put health and safety at the top of the agenda – employees must feel valued as people, therefore tailor your messages for different groups
- Be realistic about the promise and the reality of technology – let employees provide feedback on technology to alleviate frustration and drive real-time improvements
- Take employees’ personal challenges seriously and provide true resources – be proactive about sharing resource information and helping with personal challenges to easy the heavy ‘mental load’
- Rethink time management and rearrange the workday if needed – provide better control over the workday by reducing or condensing meetings, and schedule them in time blocks
- Hone in on what’s critical and what can wait – provide your team with the freedom to identify work clutter and focus on the business’ true priorities
- Acknowledge that employees’ experiences may be very different and ever-changing – everybody is different, therefore treat your team members as individuals to create the feeling of being valued
- Address rewards and performance metrics – rethink what success looks like and look at reward options like reduced hours, unpaid leave and other a thoughtful, delivered small gift
- Acknowledge and tackle the gap in informal interaction – informal meetings like virtual lunches or ad-hoc chats can be helpful to get real problem-solving done
- Give people a voice – perhaps the most important point because this is an opportunity for new leaders and innovators to emerge
Throughout the entire period of the crisis and beyond, the most crucial element is to make clear to your team members that holding together as a team and having each other’s back is vital to succeed during these testing times. You’ve got this together as a team or organisation.
“Dare to make a difference!”
*Korn Ferry: Make sure you check out their website where you can find a wealth of information and articles: www.kornferry.com
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