“What leaders need during a crisis is not a predefined response plan but behaviors and mindsets that will prevent them from overreacting to yesterday’s developments and help them to look ahead.”
The above quote from McKinsey & Company does a great job of capturing what we need to do during this crisis. The very first step to getting through these turbulent times is to manage your mindset. While we cannot control everything happening around us, we can control how we react to it.
As a leader, you may not have led people through a crisis before, but you are in your role for a reason. Remind yourself of the value you bring and find the confidence that you can do this. It’s really important that you build that confidence first within yourself and then within your team. Reassure them that we’re all in this together and we’ve got this!
Pro Tip: Great leaders are born in times of crisis. If you think of the great leaders that we all know throughout history – whether in business, government or social issues – they led people through a challenge or a crisis. So now, as a leader, this is this is your time.
Below, we’ve provided some tips and guidance as well as our best practices to help you lead your teams to be more productive and effective.
Focused, Motivated and Energized
As a leader, part of your job is to help keep everyone on your team focused, motivated and energized. You have to project a sense of calm and that means also being positive and focused yourself. That may be a lot of to ask of you – so to start, keep this in mind: It’s a lot easier to do when there’s hope. To help yourself and your team focus, get motivated and stay energized, reinforce hopes for the future. Reinforce the shared vision you are all working towards, and as a team, you will get there together.
Agile leadership principles are essential in times of crisis. Agile leaders build teams that are small, empowered and connected. They allow and encourage their teams to work in faster cycles of testing, learning and adapting, so that they can deliver more value more efficiently. Agile leaders help keep their teams focused on creating value for their internal and external customers by understanding and addressing their needs. Look for opportunities to provide solutions for your customers, then allow your team to confidently test, learn and adapt.
Focus on Your Values
While working through the challenges brought on by today’s circumstances, it is critical to stay focused on your values. This includes your personal values, your team values and your organization values.Think of your values as a tether grounded in what is most important right now. As a leader, the most important thing you can do for your team right now is to demonstrate empathy. This means putting human needs before work and encouraging everyone to work together and support each other during this time.
Planning for the Future
In times of great uncertainty, we can only control what we are doing right now, in this present moment. Right now, the future is just an idea. We can plan for it, but we can’t control it. It is an inefficient use of energy and focus to spend too much time in the “what ifs” of the future. The best way we can plan for the future is to be present in this moment. Try new things, bring back things that were successful before and learn from what works and what doesn’t work today.
If you’re looking for some tools on how to reduce stress and keep your mindset focused and positive, we have a free book on our site called “How to Reduce Stress at work.” Download here for FREE and share with your team.
This article comes from our online training “5 Keys to Leading Virtual Teams in the COVID-19 Crisis” Click on the link to view the entire training for FREE as well as access other helpful leadership resources.