As we navigate this unknown territory it has caused me to reflect on other crises our country has overcome in the last several decades. Just since the year 2000 in the United States, we have weathered the terrorist attack of 9/11, the energy crises in 2003, SARS, the housing market crash and recession of 2008 , and the H1N1 virus in 2009. It is hard to believe all of this has occurred in the last 20 years. These times were not easy, but we came through stronger each time. It’s part of who we are as Americans. Strong leaders lead during hard times.
Here are a few tried and true strategies you can use to lead your employees and others:
Listen to your employees. Every employee will react differently to the current crisis and they all have different needs. Some of their situations may include worrying about an elderly parent, concerns about job security, their child’s day care or school being closed, etc. Making accommodations to meet specific needs in times of crisis can show great leadership, but should be done with careful thought and uniformly for employees. Technology allows many workers to perform their jobs from home and may be a great option for your company during this time. Of course, this is not feasible for everyone depending on the type of job.
Be transparent with your employees, honesty is the best policy. Let your employees know what you are doing to take care of your customers and how you are working with your suppliers and vendors to insure you have the products you need to keep business running smoothly. Schedule meetings or teleconferences as needed to keep everyone updated and in the loop. More communication is now critical.
Emphasize your culture and core values and how they apply in good times as well as challenging times. We need to live our core values every day as leaders and employees. Lead by example and talk about what makes your company strong and resilient during times of uncertainty.
Take care of yourself and others. We all hope and pray this situation will be short lived and our population will remain as healthy as possible. Being in a leadership position whether it be in business or in the home is an opportunity to lead and help others navigate these uncertain waters as we move ahead. We will all come through stronger on the other side.