Today in the current climate of the world, several countries are on lockdown, social distancing is paramount, and quarantine doesn’t seem have an end in sight.
As challenging as these times are, it is providing most of us with a very unique opportunity to lead ourselves and our families, without distraction and external obligation.
In a unprecedented situation, when there’s uncertainty, fear, and grief; being able to express and model leadership, will have a profound lasting effect on those impressionable eyes that are watching.
I was once that child watching the way my parents responded.
With both parents being military veterans, my father a police officer, and mother a nurse, I had a unique opportunity to watch trained leaders and first responders my entire life. Those lessons, combined with over a decade of my own military experience, leadership and training, have shaped me into a powerful leader, speaker mother and wife.
“The difference between management and leadership is communication” -Winston Churchill
I have always felt reassured by leaders who are transparent during times of uncertainty. When shit hits the fan, those who are caught in the storm don’t need to hear excuses, theories or BS in general. What is necessary is to prioritize facts and implement a game plan.
Transparency in communication means communicating facts, not assumptions, or opinions.
Especially during trying times, it’s wise to be open to listening to and acknowledging concerns. This is fundamental in establishing trust as a leader and communicator. In responding to I always fall back on my ABC’s
Be as accurate as you can about the information you are aware of.
Be brief, but honest. Don’t let yourself or your team become distracted or absorbed by unnecessary details.
Clarify information if needed.
It is acceptable that you may not have all the answers. However, it is NOT acceptable to lie or give false answers to unknown situations. This will only discredit you as a leader.
Set a clear foundation on what your values are. Whatever values are true to you and the way you intend to lead yourself, your family, and your business, should be transparent.
This provides initiative for individual decision making; having knowledge and understanding of the values, removes confusion and adds a feeling of sense and purpose.
For example, a family might have values such as quality time, teamwork, helpfulness, and love.
Maybe in business, your values are community, efficiency, innovation, and resourcefulness.
Whatever your values are, (and they can change and adapt) make sure they are communicated.
Once the intent is in place, you may have expectations to voice. These can be what you expect of your team, and what your team can expect from you.
In a family scenario, with quality time as a value, you may implement ‘no screen time’ family dinners, or daddy daughter date nights, or learning a new hobby together. This sets an expectation of how dinner will be, and give the family a new project to work together on.
In a business scenario, how you implement your values is what is going to strengthen your business culture. With strong communication of values and intent given to fellow leaders and team member you can assure that the message/mission can be executed regardless of ever changing situations, or obstacles.
Lastly, practice using a calm ,confident voice and compassionate tone in your communication. My first tip for remaining calm is to focus on your breath.
Box breathing is a great tool taught to most first responders.
Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts. This, or other calm breathing technic is particularly helpful before addressing a crisis situation and giving guidance, calm your breath and nerves as much as you can.
People will remember how you made them feel, and if you are panicked, they will be to. Do not allow your emotions to overpower your words.
Principle: Transparent Communication is communication of the facts, values, intent and expectation. If this is done calmly and in rapid response to a crisis or , it will increase trust in any relationship.
During calm or crisis, a foundation of trust and integrity within your family, teams, or organization will help see you through every challenge.
The best part about leadership is that it is an action. An action that can be started today, right now. With these tips you can begin immediately to effectively communicate like a leader, and create more powerful communicators for the future.