Not since the Bay of Pigs and the resultant Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 has there been such a period of turmoil and uncertainty as exists today with the outbreak of the Coronavirus Crisis. Employees of all organizations are looking to their leaders to provide direction, clarity, and assurance. They want answers. They are looking to you, as a leader, to calm their anxieties concerning their livelihoods.
As a Leader, what should you do now?
As a leader, you may be preoccupied by the same worries and anxieties that your employees have and be in no better position to answer these questions! So, what is the first step?
· Alleviate worries, instill Positive Mental Attitude, and focus the organization’s mental energy toward productive ends.
· Positive Mental Attitude fosters Resilience, which enables people to endure hardships of extraordinary proportions.
· Embodying Positive Mental Attitude and Resilience sets a positive tone for the organization and invites people to adopt the same mindset.
Connect With Your People
You’re a leader. But, first, you’re a person. Just like everyone else.
The most frequent mistake that leaders make in a crisis is believing they must be Superheroes who under no circumstance can be seen as vulnerable. They try to “present a stiff upper lip” and believe that this is what their employees need to stay strong.
What their people really need, and want, is to see that their leaders are not only human but experiencing many of the same issues and concerns. This creates a shared bond and a feeling that “we are all in this together.”
Positive Mental Energy can boost Resilience and support performance.
Most people worry about what others would think if their vulnerability was exposed. As a leader, remember this:
It is natural in catastrophic situations for any human being to be scared or apprehensive.
Acknowledging your feelings in times of crisis gives your people permission to do the same.
Take your walls down and stop worrying about perceptions.
Focus on what can be done to gain control.
This approach helps people turn negative worries into positive mental energy that can boost their Resilience and support performance.
Understand Your People
The global threat we are currently experiencing hits home on multiple fronts and is attacking more than just our health. There is a financial, social and emotional impact that creates existential dread and compromises the basic survival of any human being. Under such conditions, people are not themselves and may say things out of anger and fear that they later regret. It is natural in times like these for people to lose their composure and feel helpless. Take the following into account:
The best solace you can offer to those in pain and fear is silence.
Encourage people to share what is on their minds.
Listen with patience.
Create a safe space that is free of judgment where employees can express and sort their worries.
Listen and key in on the emotions to help people uncover their strengths—their courage, passion and their personal purpose.
With a little introspection and a word of encouragement you can…
Partner With Your People
It is natural in times of disasters for people to get preoccupied with “What ifs” negativity.
“What if” thinking paralyzes people.
“What if” thinking stifles positive energy.
“What if” thinking focuses on excessive worries, anxieties and catastrophic prediction.
Don’t engage in this type of negative thought process and help your employees avoid it too.
Replace negative “What ifs” with positive “What ifs,” like, “What if things get better tomorrow?”
Release your employees from this “What if” negative thinking by infusing purpose in their workday.
Involve them in solving the problems they are facing. Somebody has to solve the problems, and problems of catastrophic proportions affect the entire organization. It only makes sense for people at all levels of the organization to contribute to the solutions.
Convert worries and trepidations into a positive mental energy so they don’t turn into a destructive negative force.
Organize your people, give them challenges to work on and inspire them to persevere.
When fear and worries are transformed into positive mental energy, your organization has more Resilience to cope with the crisis.
Don't Forget the Leader
Everyone is tempted right now to work long hours, skip meals, and forego introspecting. The lack of sleep and high levels of adrenalin will without a doubt compromise your critical thinking and decision making. Remember, you cannot lead anyone unless you can lead yourself first. Be prudent, make a small investment and take care of yourself.
In time of crisis, Leadership is the distinction between organizations that persevere and those that disappear. Inspiring your employees to get involved creates Positive Mental Attitude and Resilience, the force that will propel your organization out of any crisis.