How Leaders Need To Show Up In Crisis – Part 2
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In our previous post, (read part one here) we talked about the “why” of leaders showing up during a crisis. In part two, we’re going to talk about “how” we need to show up for our people.
#1 – Good Leaders Provide Perspective In Crisis
Lighthouses give perspective during a stormy night and help captains navigate around treacherous coastlines or reefs that would otherwise destroy their ships. Similarly, good leaders provide their people with perspective during a crisis.
Queen Elizabeth did this for her nation during her rare 4-minute speech on April 5th:
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.”
But there’s not just one perspective — there are many different ones. So leaders need to see the crisis through different lenses. Here’s an example of just three perspective:
- People perspective – Who will be impacted? How will they be impacted?
- Business perspective – How will the business be impacted?
- Health perspective – How will people’s health be impacted?
With these various perspectives, leaders then need to decide what the priority is during the crisis. In our current crisis, many leaders have decided that the nation’s health and stopping the virus from spreading is more important than keeping the economy going.
The second priority for our Canadian government is the economy so our government has rolled out billions of dollars to help individuals and businesses ride out this recession.
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#2 – Good Leaders Keep Active Hope Alive
When we’re lost in the middle of a dark storm and then we see the beacon of light from a lighthouse, it gives us direction and an action point.
A crisis creates uncertainty, disruption, fear and change. All of these combined, can cause people to feel a lot of fear and anxiety, which are two of the predominant emotions we’re seeing right now.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hope as the “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment”. By showing up as a calm presence, a leader can bring a lot of hope to the people they influence.
Now, I’m talking about an active hope vs. just the feeling of hope because it’s critical for us to keep moving forward during this storm. We’re all going to change during this crisis, for better or for worse, and we want to help the people we’re leading to change for the better.
As seasoned leadership guru John C. Maxwell says, “A crisis never leaves you the same. We long for normal but a crisis changes the way we do normal.”
Leaders can do this by defining (and re-defining as needed) the priorities and giving people action points. This gives people a way through the crisis. Our health leaders are doing this by giving us simple actions to take, like washing our hands and social distancing, and those actions are helping us to navigate this crisis.
Photo credit: Mark de Jong on Unsplash
#3 – Good Leaders Help Their People To Feel Secure
One of the most important ways leaders can help their people to feel confident and hopeful during a crisis is by making value-based decisions.
And one of the values that needs to be a leader’s highest priorities is his or her people.
When people feel like their leader has their back, cares for them and they can count on their leader, then they can have confidence and hope through the difficulties because they know they just need to look to their lighthouse — their leader — and they’ll make it through.
This confidence comes from two places:
1 – First, people trust that their leader will be consistent and act according to their core values — of putting people first — and not make willy-nilly decisions based on fear or self-preservation.
2 – Second, people feel more confident in their own resilience during a crisis because their leader empowers and equips them to learn how to navigate through difficulties.
Another way leaders can help their people to feel secure is by showing up and allowing their people to see their scars from past crises. These scars give leaders credibility. When people know that their leaders have gained greater resilience, character and integrity through past crises, that provides greater security to their people.
Then when leaders remind their people that “this too shall pass”, their followers can take comfort in that because their leaders have experienced crises in the past and made it through.
One practical action for you to take today and show up for your people is to ask yourself this question: how are you providing perspective, hope and security in the midst of this crisis for your people?
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Are you providing perspective, hope and security for your people? Share your thoughts in the comments below so we can encourage each other!
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