The TEN things strong leaders do FIRST in any crisis.
First of all, I hope you’re in good spirits and you’re adjusting ok to the changes (if any, where you are) in lockdown restrictions. Going into the crisis was frightening and adjusting to coming out of it is expected to become quite difficult too.
This is a permission slip to take your time and adjust to things slowly. Some people are dying to get back to normal life, others are taking it easy themselves. Both are ok.
Sending you big love and good vibes wherever you are.
NOTE: This blog post was written on 11th May 2020.
This week, as we’re starting to see changes in the data. The curves are levelling out for some countries and people are hailing some leadership styles (looking at you NZ) as being the best during this current crisis.
This got me thinking.
What do they all have in common and the answer was simple. Let’s dig into that in this week’s Dose of Realness
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No matter what your mission is, it is communicating that mission that’s important so everyone can follow your lead.
Simple right? Well, not so simple as we’ve seen with the US. Mixed messages and no “one thing” for people to aim for. Each state has different restrictions so if you’re watching the national news, the message is different from where you live.
There is massive confusion about whether people can open their stores again. Confusion leads to panic and panic leads to breaking the rules to stay safe. Hence why there are protests to reopen the US.
Conversely, there is one message in Spain. Stay at home. End of.
Simple, one message missions WORK.
So how do you transmit that message?
Step up Jacinda Ardern, in her nappy cream covered jacket giving FB live updates without any frills. Just her presence to calm and unite a country. She’s shown she’s one of them and is uniting them with one message.
The same message, delivered frequently, by someone who cares.
Not sure if you have seen Sara Blakely on Instagram. She is out with her family in her RV because her business is a well-oiled machine and it all started with communication. It was the first thing she did. She got everyone together with a message of unity and stayed in touch. Her communication lines are open.
Let’s look at the UK. There was confusion at the start but then the daily Boris briefings were fantastic but a mixed and confusing message. The briefings started too late, people were already panic buying because of the worldwide news.
The delivery, the congruent message and speed of communication have been the success or failure in coming out of this crisis or any crisis with minimum disruption.
If there is any change in the situation, it is always about being adaptable to change.
If that change is to be adapted to, it is communicating that change that gets everyone on board.
How to communicate with your team/family/friends in any crisis.
Centre yourself first.
Take a moment to breathe and calm yourself. Leadership is about confidence then direction. You can regain your confidence when you tap into your inner voice and knowing. Take a moment to do that before you do anything.
Check-in at home
They’re your first team. Get them on board and provide for them first. That seems so silly to state but check in with loved ones before you charge off with your team.
Set up a war room of your closest confidants and advisors.
Open the channels of communication. Two-way comms are essential. Check for blind spots. You don’t have to do this alone. This isn’t cutting people off, this is cutting down the noise. Only trusted sources in the “room”. Your “room” is where you talk openly about what is going on. Sara Blakely gathered her top-level leaders together on hers so they were all on the same page.
Communicate out to your wider network…
Once you have a plan or at least a message of calm. Include them all in what’s going on. Don’t hide the truth from them. They’re more in tune than your think. Being there daily and as the information changes is incredibly powerful. Even if you don’t have a fully formed plan, don’t hide. Be honest, say you’re working on it and you’ll get back to them with an update and when.
Remember to take care of yourself.
A crisis may or may not have a specific end date so burning yourself out in the first couple of days will be terrible. Crisis are almost always longer than we anticipate as the ripple effect will cast a shadow over all and every aspect of your life and organisation.
Double down on self-care.
It may take more time but it will pay off. Sleep when you are tired, not when you can. Eat when you are hungry, not when you can. You have an inner circle for a reason. They’re there to help you. Dedicate some out of the box tasks to them if they have the bandwidth. They may be the Director of Finance but they may also be the best person to call in to bring healthy food too!
Watch for the quiet ones.
In first aid training, you are taught to always attend the quiet people first. The ones that are screaming are alive, the ones that are quiet are suffering in silence. If you have the bandwidth, check in on your inner circle as much as necessary. If you don’t have the bandwidth, buddy them up with someone. Again, this is about keeping you sane while caring for others. Having a leadership structure where you can keep your inner circle tight and they then have their direct reports is going to be the difference.
Put up strong boundaries before they needed.
You decide what people, messages, information sources come into your world and how. Chose only trusted sources of information. That can be either directly or via a third party. Eg. I have an economics expert in my inner circle who I get unbiased information from not the Daily Mail.
Take the call (if you can) and listen.
There can be a tendency to only transmit your message so you feel in control of the narrative however, that’s not how leadership works. You’re there to lead but also serve. The people in your charge are humans and they need to express themselves. If you have the bandwidth, take the call. Listen, create time and space for people.
Trust your gut aka your intuition.
YOU are there to lead. Not your inner circle. You’re in that position because you put yourself there and now it’s time to lead. Leadership is a mix of wisdom, courage and trusting your intuition.
If you want some intuition training, head over to theintuitiondeck.com
Notice that I didn’t say the word empathy in this?
That was for a reason.
There are articles reporting on empathetic leaders but what IS empathy? Well, unfortunately, you can’t learn it overnight. Right now, you need action steps, not empathy training and I hope these actions have helped.