The COVID19 leadership crisis rages on. Organizations, small to large, for profit to non-profit, have been involuntarily thrown into the deep end of uncertainty… to say the least. Without having successfully led people through a crisis before, where do leaders turn for guidance? What can they do now? Especially when the risks of getting it wrong are so very high and the organization surviving the times is even higher. If you’re in this position or someone you know is, read and share.
- Get a firm grip on one key aspect of leadership. Leaders lead PEOPLE and manage tasks. Think about the restaurant manager that has shut-down inside service and is focusing on drive-thru, curbside pick-up, and delivery. The change in process, schedules, and supplies are all tasks on the managers plate. Communicating, inspiring, training, and maintaining calm in the wake of the storm are leadership actions everyone needs to see and feel from the manager. You must stay focused on your people. Be inclusive now more than ever. It’s your people that will get the organization through this. As if this was a big bright light flashing in your face, without your people, you have no organization.
- Make a plan. Start your day being proactive. Write down your plan, modify it as required and your battle rhythm will emerge. There is nothing like writing things down and checking them off as they’re accomplished. This is the time to break out a notepad, pocket memo book, journal, or the like. Skip the smartphone or laptop. Go old school and put pen to paper. Plenty of studies show that putting pen to paper boosts retention and long-term comprehension. If it’s not a habit now, no better time than now to make it one.
- Stay positive. Positivity, like a smile, is contagious. It generates energy in you and your people. It sounds easy enough, but during a crisis it’s even easier to get angry, worried, or even frozen in fear over the unknown future that lies ahead. It’s imperative to dig deep for times when demonstrating positivity was the norm and use those times now to form an anchor to keep them front and center.
- Show gratitude. Like positivity, being grateful, along with the act of showing gratitude does wonders for your own mental fitness. From positivepsychology.com – the brain releases dopamine and serotonin when giving and receiving gratitude, two neurotransmitters responsible for the emotion of feeling “good”. And this is a critical time to maintain strong mental fitness. If there’s one thing that will get in the way of leading people through a crisis, it’s the mind. Maintain good physical health and even better mental health.
- Execute… again, again, and again. Lead the way and go first where you expect your people to go. Set the example for them to follow. When you fail, start over and get after it again. Remember, failure is not a sign of weakness. It’s an opportunity to learn. It’s also a sign that you put any worry or fear aside and executed. Do that again!
Keep your leadership practices simple and foundational. Your people need you to be their rock. Lastly, I encourage anyone reading this to seek out a mentor or coach and call upon them regularly. Mentors and coaches are the unbiased, experienced parties to help you rise to new challenges. From well-articulated guidance to a listening ear, they exist to be an asset and help you be, know, and DO better.