Leading DURING times of crisis and uncertainty

Updated: Jun 24, 2020



They say the ultimate measure of a leader is where he/she stands in times of challenge and controversy.


With this in mind and following on from last week's discussions, I thought it would be interesting to explore the key qualities, traits and behaviours of organisations and their leaders DURING times of crisis and uncertainty and, how they handled these difficult times.


I have curated the list below based on my own experiences and what I have observed over the last few months of what effective leadership looks like when handling a global crisis such as what we are experiencing today.

Firstly, the good organisations and their leaders were;

Transparent

They spoke the truth and nothing but the truth as difficult as it may have been. They didn't sugarcoat things or live in an unrealistic stretched version of the truth. They didn’t gaslight the situation or blame others.

They were governed by facts and evidence, and importantly they allowed themselves to be led. They then relayed information as transparently as they could. They were direct and entirely honest in the way they communicated, acted and behaved.

The result? People knew where they stood and it gave them an opportunity to act on the information they were given rather than being surprised or blindsided.

Empathetic

They showed a healthy dose of humility and a whole lot of empathy. After all, people want to know that you care before they care what you know.

These leaders were not driven by their ego or self-serving attitude. They always put themselves in other people's shoes and did everything they could to support, help and serve the people they led.


Often, it was the simple act of listening and giving people the chance to be heard always trying to understand their needs.

Communicative

They communicated early, well and often. They didn’t wait to provide information whether it was a simple update or an important or lengthy discussion - they knew when, how and who to deliver it. They were factual, concise and made sure everyone knew the reasons as to “why”.

They did this to provide absolute clarity and direction. The result? Avoided unnecessary anxiety, stress and importantly the wrong or incorrect information from being spread.

Inclusive

Not divisive. They did not divide and conquer. Effective leaders collaborated and engaged with the right people at the right time. They gave people the opportunity to be part of the process and to be included...they empowered, enabled and inspired those around them.

They created a culture of trust, teamwork, and camaraderie because they inherently knew that if the people and teams they led trusted them - they would be more productive and high performing.

This is important when managing difficult situations and circumstances, especially when there is a heightened sense of uncertainty. Effective leaders made sure everyone was on the same page, singing the same song, united and aligned.

The result? People knew and understood their role, their responsibility and the part they were going to play...minimising confusion while raising organisational accountability and productivity.

Decisive

Last but certainly not least they were decisive. Their decisions were not only based on data and facts but driven by the values and the culture they had set - they always did the right thing and always acted on behalf of the greater good.

They not only focussed on managing their costs, running a tight ship and leading people and teams but they made sure that everyone felt safe - mentally, emotionally, physically and even financially.


They also remained calm and steadfast in their decisions not overpromising on things nor were they easily swayed. They provided solutions that were based on looking after people thus looking after the future of their organisation.

There you have it, my top qualities and traits of effective leadership. But in case you get stuck on making a decision or what to do next, I usually remind myself of this;



Because as leaders, the worse thing we can do is say and do nothing.


We have to be open and prepared to inevitably fail and accept that we will get it wrong at some point, that we are not going to know or be everything to all people. Accepting that, learning from and using our past experiences collectively for future decision making will help us stand in good stead.

I have always tried to drive behaviours to get to the results I wanted. It takes a whole lot of patience and work, looking deep within and challenging our own selves, our way of thinking and definitely our way of working. Collaborating and engaging with our teams and those around us - listening and learning every step of the way.

Because as leaders we will not only be measured by how we handled a difficult situation but on how we treated people along the way especially when they were at their lowest or at their worst perhaps during an exit, redundancy or in times of challenge and controversy.

So let’s always try to do the next right thing, continue to do our best and importantly, help one another to strive to do better.


What do you think? Do you agree? Did you recognise or resonate with the traits above? How did you handle times of crisis and uncertainty? Did you bravely step up or step aside?

Next week we are going to conclude our leading in times of crisis and uncertainty discussion and recap all the lessons learnt and how we navigate and chart our way forward.

Look forward to discussing more with you then.

Listen. Learn. Lead.

- Joana x



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Joana is a natural born leader, strategist, problem solver, business partner & advisor, online business coach, employee & customer experience champion, people & culture advocate, HR leader, home decor & organisation enthusiast and, serious coffee drinker 😜


Her mission is to help startups and small businesses to grow and scale by transforming their employee and customer experience into something unique, exciting and extraordinary with the ultimate aim of creating viable and profitable organisations.

Her vision is to inspire the next generation of servant and transformational leaders with her ultimate aim of changing the world one business and leader at a time - follow her quest and journey here!

 

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