Crisis demands that leaders respond to situations they are unfamiliar with, in ways that are new and innovative. It requires them to stay calm, effective and maintain a sense of perspective. The major goal of a leader in times of crisis is to make sure that operations run as close to normal as possible and to minimize loss.

In light of this pandemic that has swept the world, forcing organisations to restructure how things work and having to do this while working remotely, leading during a time like this can prove to be challenging. Let’s look at some practical tips on how to lead your team through a crisis such as this.

1. Communicate

Keep the channels of communication open, this is important for things to sail smoothly. Even though you and your team are not in the same place, there are a ton of tools that can be used to communicate and share information, set up meetings and more. It is important at this time to ensure that team members are getting the right kind of information, about the pandemic, how it affects the organisation and their jobs as a whole. This would reduce any type of panic that may arise if they are left guessing. Key information should be reviewed, repeated and reinforced for it to be effective.

2. Have a schedule

Going through a crisis means there are a lot of ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’. Having a schedule acts as a sort of anchor and keeps everybody grounded. Create a schedule for meetings, for checkups, appraisals and progress reports. These constant checks also act as a way to gauge team members’ physical and emotional well-being

3. Show your face

Yes, you are not supposed to leave your house at this time, but thankfully video calls exist. There is a different feel that comes with seeing the person you are talking to,when compared to exchanging text messages, instant messaging or even regular calls. Every once in a while, maybe once a week, do a video call with your team members. It builds a stronger relationship and fosters camaraderie between you and the team. 

4. Don’t forget the training

In times of crisis, training budgets are usually the first to go. It is important that you as a leader understand the importance of training during this trying period. Providing training for your team during a period of crisis is a great way to fuel engagement especially if it’s training that can be done as a team. Find training that helps them understand themselves better and appreciate their contributions to the organisation.

5. Stay strong

Everyone is looking up to you at this time and even though you might not feel like it, you are expected to stay strong for the team while trying to ensure that everything is working. It is important at this time to try to manage your emotions. It won’t be helpful to anyone if you lose your temper and snap at your employees over little things.

This is new territory and nobody really knows the way forward. Leaders, now more than ever, need to be centered so they can help their teams feel more anchored and valued.


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