In times of crisis, your leadership could be the defining moment in your career...
and in the lives of your team.
Many of us have managed through some challenging times. I survived a corporate bankruptcy, the 9/11 crisis, the recession of 2008, and a corporate lay off; and each time I learned, I grew and I persevered. While this pandemic is uncharted territory, there is still much to be learned from past events that can lead us to a more successful outcome. One thing is clear:
Leaders play a critical role in how the team responds to the crisis. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do need to lead with compassion and embrace the opportunity to learn and grow with your team.
So, how are you doing? How is your team? While the initial shock of this pandemic has come and gone, we are still dealing with the issues, and for some it's gotten even worse. Your team needs your leadership to help them stay the course and find success.
Here are some lessons I’ve learned and I hope they help you as you continue to manage through this time of uncertainty:
1. Lead with Compassion: Everyone handles crisis differently. As a leader, it’s your job to show empathy and compassion for each person on your team.
- Ask- How are they doing? How are their families? While you may have a lot on your plate, nothing is more important right now than connecting with your team and showing them you care about them.
- Listen- Give them a chance to vent, to cry, to share their feelings. Give them time away, if they need it. Encourage them to take care of themselves. Get sleep, exercise etc.
- Set Priorities: Stay in tune with your team. Set realistic targets, and continue to hold them accountable. They need you to keep them focused, but offer necessary flexibility and support.
2. Over Communicate:
- Provide clarity- On goals, processes, availability, expectations.
- Provide stability- Offer consistent and regular company updates and progress.
- Provide support- Determine if your group needs daily or weekly group meetings, and identify who needs more frequent one on one support.
- Provide Hope: Look for opportunities to share hope, share a realistic picture of what’s on the horizon. Be honest but hopeful.
- Use facts, not assumptions.
- Collaborate: Solicit your group’s ideas, allow them to be a part of the solutions. This makes them feel more valued and more included. And will most likely provide better solutions.
3. Focus on Specific Results:
- Adjust your original goals and expectations as necessary.
- Keep your team focused on moving forward toward whatever the adjusted expectations may be. The more they focus on “moving” forward, the less they focus on “moping.”
- Don’t micromanage the activity, just focus on the results. Working remotely doesn’t allow for micromanaging.
4. Be positive, but authentic:
- Take care of yourself first. Everyone is watching you. Get rest, ample exercise. Place a priority on your own self-care. How can you help others if you’re exhausted yourself?
- Look for the silver lining…what are you as a group learning through all of this? How will it benefit you in the future?
- Provide the optimism for what they can do now, not what they can’t.
- Promote learning- While this may be a time of limited growth in results, if your people take the time to learn, grow, and hone their skills, they’ll remain more positive and keep a healthier mindset. When the tide changes, they’ll be stronger and more prepared to maximize the opportunities in front of them.
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Kathy is a sales and leadership coach specializing in helping builders and real estate companies develop brilliant sales leaders who foster a healthy, high performance sales culture. Kathy's transformational sales leadership program 9 Steps to Leading a Rock Star Sales Team teaches sales leaders the systems and strategies to not just survive the demanding role of the sales manager, but to THRIVE.