During these times of unusual crisis and uncertainty, people are looking to their leaders to do just that – lead them. Leaders must find ways to prove to employees that they are worthy of trust. This exchange will result in a stronger organization and greater stability. How can leaders prove that they are trustworthy and the right people to lead employees through the fog of the unknown?
Forbes recently published a list of traits leaders should display during a crisis to lead well. Forbes contributor, John Hall, shares from his experience as a founder and quotes Credera CEO Justin Bell and Managing Partner Andrew Warden.
1. Concern for Employees
Treating employees as people is a simple but profound way to show concern during a crisis. This means asking about project status updates after making sure that an employee has everything they need to succeed at home. For example, Credera focuses on sharing the “why” behind business decisions in order to build trust with employees and keep them involved in the decision making process at some level. As Forbes puts it, “to overcommunicate and be transparent when sharing information with employees about their thought processes.”
“Bell and Warden’s advice? Take a page from Ben Horowitz’s book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things”: ‘Take care of the people, the products, and the profits — in that order.’”
2. Community Engagement
Leaders can’t lose sight of their place in the fabric of society. Finding ways to create continuity between your organization and the community it functions within shows employees that you care about more than just profits. These opportunities are critical to upping morale and creating a sense of purpose.
Author John Hall tells the story of Curtis Christopherson, president of Innovative Fitness, unveiling their “Beat the Bug” fitness challenge to do their part to flatten the curve. At Credera, we’ve started an internal list of how to give back to the geographies where our offices are located. Look for interesting ways to give back to your community.
3. Focus on the Greater Goal
Tying back into Credera’s advice to “share the why,” Forbes explains that going back to the company’s mission is critical to remind people why they are getting out of bed every morning. And sometimes it’s even more critical for leaders. As the world seems to be getting more and more out of control, focusing on the mission of an organization can create an oasis of certainty for leaders at all levels in an organization.
Showing empathy is key for building trust as a leader. The same old “it’s all going to be fine” won’t cut it when employees are feeling the impacts of the crisis both personally and professionally. Great leaders know when to share that they are nervous and that they understand what employees are going through. Be authentic with your employees. It’ll go a long way.
5. A Sense of Opportunity
Although it’s hard to think about opportunity during a crisis, there may actually be one. Forbes explains the meaning behind the Chinese symbol for “crisis.” Author Ben Hall explains, “The Chinese symbol for ‘crisis’ has two parts: one means ‘danger,’ but the other means ‘opportunity.’ The lesson is this: Leaders should respect the risk of the virus to their business (and health), but they shouldn’t forget that also it’s a chance to grow.”
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Leading during this uncertain time is daunting but incredibly rewarding. At Credera, we’re hopeful that by sharing our leadership lessons we can help you to navigate this difficult time. If you’re interested in the subject we’ve written another article about how to lead during a crisis.
Find the rest of our COVID-19 insights here: