Your team is one of your biggest assets you have as a CEO. They are relying on you to take the lead to navigate through the good times and the bad.
2020 has brought on a lot of change and uncertainty for many business owners. Some teams were torn apart and others came together and pulled through. Many business owners learned how to step up and lead in a way that felt uncomfortable, but grew in the process. Others backed down and, if I had to guess, it shows in their business.
Everyone handles challenging circumstances differently, so I’m here to help. After almost 15 years in business management and leadership roles leading through business closures, recessions, and unexpected acquisitions, I have something to say about the subject.
So, let’s talk about the 4 steps to lead your team during a crisis…
1. Remain Calm. Nothing good comes from freaking out and nothing gets accomplished. CEOs are the rock in the business. Your job is to be grounded and steady. I’m not saying you have to know everything. You don’t. If you need help with solutions, ask. Your team wants authenticity, but they also want to see you holding strong for the sake of the business. Your calmness is contagious so it helps when you’re relaxed.
2. Get The Facts. With any crisis, use reliable data. If it’s an internal business problem, use your metrics and your team’s insights. If the crisis is like what we all are facing with COVID, use the appropriate credible sources. Don’t make any decisions based on what you are hearing on social media, the news at large, or the internet in general. Once you have sound data then start the process to make a decision. This is not the time to “wing it”.
3. Be Open. Open communication is everything. This should be the norm within your company in general. So my hope is this isn’t new. When you’re being open you’re hearing out the concerns of your team, listening for solutions and being honest that you don’t have all the answers. It’s during these times you’re putting yourself in your team’s shoes and hearing where they’re coming from as they bring up their thoughts, questions and concerns.
4. Create Your Plan. After you have completed steps 1-3, create a plan of action. One of the items I recommend is having emergency or distress Standard Operating Procedures. This will make it easier for you and your team to know what to do and what steps to follow during a crisis, or in general when it comes to your business. Talk about possible solutions to the problems occurring both for your team and your business. Brainstorm together.
No leader ever knows how anything will turn out. All you can do is do your best…
The beautiful part is when you do have a team, you’re not alone. People are always more understanding and willing to help when they know your heart. If you lead with integrity and authenticity then your team will go to bat for you every time.
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