In recent times, the world is seeking to learn from action-oriented leaders who go beyond inspiration and show actual proof of their titles. A great leader is no longer someone who gains a fan following with flattering words alone. In times of crises, confusion, and economic lull, how are leaders keeping their spirits high and not letting failures overpower their role?
According to the PWC Global Crises Survey 2019, at least 7 in 10 leaders have experienced one to three corporate crises in 5 years of their career. 42% of these leaders reported an improved situation after the crisis and showing revenue growth in business.
Whether as a startup owner, a well-established entrepreneur, or a manager at a mid-sized company, here is how you can be opportunistic about the adversities and turn them into opportunities as a leader.
Show them the other side of the crisis.
During difficult times, your employees may feel mentally drained thinking of what will happen next. Whether a pandemic, economic recession, or political climate that restrains business opportunities, as a visionary, an optimistic leader talks about a crisis as an opportunity to change and level up the business game. Shift the focus from the current hardship where all the energy is concentrated and paint a business vision that empowers your employees to keep going.
Tim Cook took over Apple after Steve Jobs succumbed to cancer in 2011. Even during such trying times, including facing allegations from the FBI on customer privacy issues, Cook proved himself to be a transformational leader and has been able to navigate the destiny of the brand, making the net worth of the company $2 trillion, 147,000 full-time employees and 510 retail stores worldwide.
Act with purpose.
True leaders are always rooted in purpose and remain unshaken during trying times. Calling it quits will severely impact the morale of your team. On the other hand, acting with purpose will redirect you to new possibilities. Remind your employees about the history of your organization and how it overcame challenges over the years. If need be, redefine your business strategies, operations, and team capabilities during the trying times. A true leader will take whatever it takes to move forward, not alone but will hold the hands of his entire clan and let purpose be that driving force.
Focus on people.
Empowering others indeed is empowering yourself. You may not be the best version of yourself during a crisis. However, talking to others will open up new opportunities and possibilities for everyone, including you. Listen to how your people feel about the current situation. Ask them about their opinions and what actions you should take as a community to make others feel comfortable or overcome the feelings of insecurity. The world has seen several crises including, the Great Depression, 9/11, the Tsunami, or the recent coronavirus pandemic. Acting in unison during crises has restored people’s trust in leaders who base their actions in the best interest of the community.
Shine with empathy.
People’s interests should be a priority for leaders and, this selfless spirit should reflect in times of hardships too. Create a workforce where people feel they are a priority and always valued. From addressing their fears with compassion to showing concern about their health, the little things go a long way. Noticing that your employees feel burnout due to overworking, ensuring that they reach home on time, taking care of their medical needs, and maintaining transparency for personal problems, makes the workforce perform with confidence and gives them a safe space to express themselves.
Jacinda Adrern, Prime Minister of New Zealand is known worldwide as a female leader who acts with empathy and cares for her citizens. Thanks to her concern for the people and a quick call to action, New Zealand is known for the lowest Covid related deaths and amongst the first countries to ease lockdown restrictions.
Address the hardships.
According to the Interact-Harris Report, 91% of employees said that the managers are not good communicators.
During a crisis, beyond addressing the challenges and empowering your team, your people want to know how well you perform as a leader during these testing times. You may not have the solution right away. However, taking action, even though small steps, to begin with, will empower your employees to come in your support. The answer is not to give them false hope and show them that you are not laid back and are fully aware of what is happening. A leader who acts as if nothing has happened and expects the team to function normally creates confusion, lowers the team morale, and ultimately will see a negative impact on the output.
According to John Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the ways, goes the way and shows the way.” This is true in every situation today, including empowering your workforce, even during the time of crisis.