During Unprecedented Times, Leaders Have a New Role to Play

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These are incredibly challenging times. The entire world has undertaken a massive shift in how we work—all at the same time and all because we have been forced to. We aren’t just working from home; we are at home in a crisis trying to work amid an avalanche of change and, in some cases, despair.

The first priority of all businesses must be to keep their people safe and, second, to ensure the businesses survive and continuity ensues. So how can we simultaneously provide focus and enable our team to be productive?

As a leader, we need to think about how we show up in a crisis—for our team, for each employee, and for ourselves. We have to have our own plan, not someone else’s. Our role is to absorb fear, to acknowledge for others what is affecting us, and then to reorient people toward what is in our control and what we can work on in the present moment.

Your Most Important Job Is to Communicate

Uncertainty can be crippling. People today are paralyzed by fear, and they’re looking to their leaders for certainty and a plan. The challenge is how to deliver certainty when there is none. While we don’t know what the world will look like in 6 months’ time, we can communicate openly with our team, focus their attention, divide the problem into things we can tackle, and ensure no one gets left behind.

Taking control of the company narrative is critical for maintaining confidence in the company and its leadership. It’s important to mitigate the spread of misinformation and to ensure the cascade of information that comes from the business is clear and has a simple call to action.

People are receiving information from many sources right now, and much of it is conflicting. It is more important than ever to have visible, honest leadership.

At times like these, leaders must communicate  every day. It is literally the most important part of your job. You will be asked to make critical decisions, but it is how you explain and present those decisions that will create at least half of the value.

Our data at Culture Amp support the importance of communication. In our latest survey of more than 17,000 employees, we found that when leaders are making effective decisions, providing a sense of stability, and being accessible, response to the COVID-19 pandemic is favorable, with 95% of employees responding positively.

For CEOs of globally distributed companies, like Culture Amp, the challenge is amplified by geography and time. I am currently recording 2-minute daily videos for the company that align our focus and provide a more personal, human view on what we’re all facing. I’ve been blown away by how much the team values having that voice at this time.

While this format might not suit all leaders, you can think about what formats are most comfortable for you—Slack? E-mail? Video calls? A handwritten thank-you note? The important thing is to be “open by default,” which means communicating in places where it is easy for information to be accessed and shared for maximum visibility. Read more here…

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Source: HR Daily Advisor

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