During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to be an effective leader. This is a critical time of some unprecedented circumstances. Things are changing on a day-to-day basis and it’s tough to weed through what is factual and what isn’t – something which has created a lot of unfortunate fear and uncertainty out there. So, whether you’re running a team, a small business, or even a large enterprise, there are things you can do to be a proactive leader and help your people come out stronger on the other side.
Recognize the situation, make swift decisions, and over-communicate
It’s important to recognize the situation instead of dismissing it. With the media doing a better job of inciting fear than sharing facts about COVID-19, you, as a leader must get in front of this. Make swift decisions and above all, over-communicate hope. I know from my own experience that over-communicating in times of uncertainty and change is essential. Be open and honest about what you know as well as about what you don’t know.
Now this is key: don’t shoot from the hip or over promise, just be transparent. The messaging is so critical, and frankly, so is the over-communication of the messaging: here’s what we’re doing; here’s why we’re doing it; and here’s how we’re doing it. And know it’s okay to change your mind as a leader, it’s part of business, and as things continue to change, it’s up to you to adapt accordingly. Just make sure you continue to be transparent, and over-communicate, especially in uncertain times.
Implement a work from home policy to control the spread of COVID-19
This situation also calls for us to be socially responsible citizens and contribute to what they’re calling “limited density” or “social distancing” to control the spread of COVID-19. So, if you haven’t already done so, implement a work from home policy immediately. Most likely, whenever you’re reading this, the Federal Government will have enacted a ‘stay in place’ order for 30 days. It’s not something to freak out on; after all, you should have a team of responsible adults working with you, and you can always do video conferencing through Zoom or, something similar; Una currently uses RingCentral, which is a great solution for collaborating from a distance and keeping everyone healthy and safe.
Provide a message of hope and positivity
Even though the world is in a health crisis right now thanks to COVID-19, as a leader it’s on you to encourage solidarity and provide direction, support and comfort to your employees and customers (at Una we call them our members) alike. Remind everyone of your vision. Remind them that we will get through this. Speak to the values and help them focus on those things we can control – like supporting your people and local businesses. There are a myriad of ways we can all help, click here to read a great article on the subject.
Share the message of hope that there is a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, even if we don’t know how long that tunnel is, and that we will overcome this; the sun will come up and business will get back to normal – it may be a new normal as realities change, but we will get back to normal. Because as Americans living in this, the greatest country in the world, we are fighters and winners; that’s just what we do; fight, unite and win.
As a leader, you have the responsibility and the power. Use it well and we’ll all come through this smarter, healthier and better than ever.