Leading Through (And After) A Crisis
At some stage in every business leader’s career, they will be confronted by a crisis. It can be a problem that is very serious and public, or something small and private.
When a crisis rears its head, we have a tendency to react based on primal instinct. However, initial impulses might not be particularly productive in most situations and may even be detrimental. A similarly suboptimal approach is to freeze and not do anything. This could lead to a possibly manageable situation turning into a full-blown catastrophe.
In a crisis, leaders should move quickly, rationally, and not by going purely by gut instinct. To address a crisis, managers must be in a position to develop flexible plans, communicate plainly, have compassion and take a long-term view to best handle any "new normal".
Making Flexible Plans
In most situations, fast action can prevent a crisis from becoming a full-blown disaster. While you won’t have all the details or resources you require, it’s vital to act quickly and with purpose. Work together with your staff to evaluate the situation, collect input, and come up with a plan. According to research from Harvard Business School, the most successful leaders were able to cycle through types of methods: working alongside employees, monitoring progress and stepping back to view the big picture, reformulating the plan as new details emerge.
Strong leader act decisively but are ready to pivot in the face of new information or setbacks.
Transparency Through Frequent Communication
Ensure that your team is aware of what they need to succeed, on a daily basis. Take on your team’s concerns directly, and don’t sugarcoat the situation or withhold information that they should know. When giving bad news, be upfront and honest. Set up a communications routine and stick to it.
Communications should always be two-way. Actively listen to employees and act on their insights when appropriate.
For your staff to keep at it through difficult times, they should have your compassion. A crisis isn't a time to avoid kindness and thoughtfulness, even if your impulses push you in that direction.
If the pandemic has revealed anything, it is that a crisis is both physically and psychologically draining. Every day, as you consider your main concerns and decisions, consider the needs of others. Keep an eye out for burnout, in both your staff and you, and do something to safeguard against it.
Manage the New Normal
After a crisis has receded, you must prepare for a “new normal” that might include new processes, tactics and cultural values. Adapting to the new normal both psychologically and cognitively may require some time, but it is your job to aid your staff recover.
Part of this process is thinking about the similar crises you may experience in the future and what you should do to prepare. Consider approaches that worked well and what did not work so well. Consider preventative measures to keep the next crisis from occurring in the first place.
We Can Help You Make 2021 a Better Year
As an international company, we’ve had a unique perspective on 2020, and we’re dedicated to making 2021 the best year ever for our US and international clients. Please contact Quanta today to find out how we can help your organization thrive this year.