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Leading your teams through a global crisis
There is little doubt we are operating in unprecedented times, as the world makes sense of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is important to reiterate that, first and foremost, we are following all Government advice to protect the health and safety of our people and customers.
During times of uncertainty and amid a global crisis, leadership becomes all the more important. This is not only true from a national perspective, whereby individuals and companies await direction from Governments around the world, but also in our own day-to-day lives and, importantly, in the world of work.
As an executive, your team will be looking to you for guidance and instruction on how to navigate the current crisis. Of course, the strategy and general direction of your organisation will be completely dependent on your business model and the industry you operate within, but determining how you move forward and the support you provide will depend on a few fundamental points. So, make sure you take some time to think about and talk through what you want your leadership signature to be.
Key questions to help determine your leadership style:
What do you stand for above all else during this time?
How do you want to be remembered for your leadership?
What are the values that you want to be the driving force behind your plan of action?
When considering the additional support you will need to provide and determining what you will need to do differently, keep the following questions at the core of your decisions:
What do my colleagues and teams need from me right now?
What does your team need to succeed in a crisis?
What can be done now to benefit your people and organisation in the long run?
These are questions you should not only be considering yourself, but actively asking your employees for their insights around.
How to effectively lead people in a crisis
While there have been major changes in both our working and personal lives, it is important to remember that these are temporary challenges we must face. Staying connected to your longer-term vision throughout this will be key. Consider the opportunities of this situation, perhaps the radical changes being put in place will facilitate better flexibility for your team longer-term or could spark a positive initiative to reduce your company carbon footprint.
Health and safety are paramount. Ongoing support and empathy for the challenges that your employees are facing currently are critical. Be sure business comms promote that wherever and however possible, the company will support individuals through this time. Wellbeing is the priority, be sure that your people know that this is a genuine commitment from the top.
Following on from this, be sure you are planning for sustainability. While temporary, this situation could extend for a significant period of time. Be sure you are not burning yourself or your teams out. Response plans may have been demanding and reactive workloads may have placed added strains on your teams, but consider the feasibility of keeping this pace for months and take steps to reduce the added stresses where possible.
Self-care and leadership
Don’t forget that your own health and safety are key. If you are not properly managing your wellbeing, you will not be able to give your best to your teams and properly lead them during this time.
When working from home full time and under added stresses as a result of challenging markets, self-care is absolutely essential, both for your physical and mental health. While basic principles, prioritise exercise, sleep, healthy eating, and getting outside.
There is a high chance that professionals may be overworking at this time. It is easy to respond to a crisis by throwing yourself into it, but burnout is a real risk. Play the long game. If this is tough for you, think about how you can get support in caring for yourself.
Build a support system of people you work with and in your personal life. You are not in this alone and your colleagues will be experiencing similar pressures to you, so be sure to stay in regular contact, even if it is just to discuss different strategies for managing a new work from home balance. When you need to, lean on others. What do you need from your team to ensure you are working effectively? Do not forget to ask for support if you require it. On this point, keep in contact with friends and family to help you stay connected with your life outside of work.
We are all operating in uncharted territory, so support and compassion should guide all interactions we are having with others. No one is at their best when feeling stressed or anxious, which is why it is important that we are ensuring we support one another wherever possible.
If there is any way we can support you, your teams, or business during this time, please feel free to get in touch for a confidential discussion.
Senior Partner, Page Executive