Updated: Jul 16
By David Casey & Meg Knight
Successful leadership in a crisis situation is a matter of both mindset and a specific set of actions. While it is a challenge, it also represents an opportunity to exhibit the values that your company considers important. It’s a chance to show the values in action.
This blog explores five tools that worked for us as leaders as we led our teams through change and adapted to many of the current crisis situations.
Heighten levels of communication to support times where anxiety runs high. This includes as the crisis is beginning to develop, and employees are starting to sense a challenge. With the management team being transparent with what is happening, even before final decisions are made, keeping the team feeling part of the process is possible.
Be aware of the importance of personal and individual check-ins, e.g., ask employees frequently, “How are you doing”? “Is everything all right for you?” What can we do to assist?” Be an active listener during crises and come up with suggestions/solutions to allow team members to feel heard.
KEEP THE VISION ALIVE
Focus on the now and getting the now right to protect and guarantee the future. Much of the challenge lies around individuals not knowing what the future holds. By actively dealing with both scenarios, the team will feel a sense of security that you are doing everything you can to protect the team’s future.
Be flexible as new and sometimes contradictory information will become available as the crisis unfolds. As a leader, act accordingly—apply informed and calculated decisions, and continue to communicate often.
COLLABORATE FOR SUCCESS
BE VISIBLE AND PRESENT
Understand the ways that you can be present. Being present could include official messages and informally joining meetings, having an “Open Office” (either in person or virtually) where employees can pop in for informal discussions that are not officially scheduled, and ad hoc emails.
LISTEN THEN SHOW ACTION
Remember that time will allow a new normal to be established—this specifically applies to a new cadence of meetings and re-evaluated accountability across the organisation. As leaders, we need to be here for the long haul as the crisis passes through, and we need to establish new priorities that will support the well-being of our teams and all individual team members.
David Casey - Chief People Officer, Construct
Meg Knight - Chief Operating Officer, Construct (Cape Town)