Success is not based on what happens, but on how we respond to what happens. Crisis situations are a good opportunity to show our teams what our real priorities are, and that we care. Here are 5 ways to support your staff through a time of crisis.
1. Check in with individual team members to see what they need. Take notes. Respond to needs wherever you possibly can. Don’t over promise, but do what you can to help. Reach out to other teams or other leaders when needs seem to go beyond what you can personally help with. The human spirit is innately resilient and good. People will help.
2. Free up extra budget that’s meant for a crisis situation. This may involve providing lunch to the team, sending food to individual families, or ordering extra supplies for a critical team.
3. Re-evaluate expectations and goals. Depending on what’s happening and who is involved, goals may need to be re-evaluated. If an individual is dealing with significant illness, or if a team just lost half of its personnel, it goes without saying that overly lofty goals can add to necessary stress.
4. Communicate your plan regularly to all involved. You may decide to send a weekly email update, or if it’s a national crisis, like what we are experiencing now with the pandemic, it may be a daily update. The more extreme the situation the more critical the updates are, and your staff will need to hear from you more often.
5. Encourage. Hard times can drain your team’s energy, but your encouraging words can instantly revive spirits. Remind your team that this too shall pass. Communicate your plan. Show them your vision for recovery and remind them how important they are to you. Remind them of the team’s mission and how they help make people’s lives better. They know these things, but they need to hear it from their leaders in a time of crisis.
Times of crisis are temporary, but how you handle them may continue to hurt or benefit your company for a long time. Great leaders respond with strength and do what they can to meet needs and encourage others. It’s time to be great. It’s time to respond. It’s time to lead.