5 Leadership Qualities That Inspire Others In a Crisis

Even at the best of times, being a leader can be challenging. Now, the shock of the epidemic has created new and unexpected challenges that are difficult for many leaders to adapt to, and moments like these can have many different impacts. Some organisations and businesses are experiencing unparalleled demand and putting in unparalleled effort to keep up with it. Other businesses are scrambling to stay afloat. There is no doubt that this epidemic affects almost everyone, including leaders and colleagues. You might argue that in these times, everyone in the organisation needs to play a leadership role as the business adjusts its strategy, business model and operating systems to accommodate rapid change.

It is possible to motivate people now to do their best work in times of crisis and help increase engagement and commitment. These best practices for leading a crisis are based on observations and data collected over the past 40 years as successful leaders have negotiated difficult situations, such as the financial crisis recession and the current coronavirus pandemic. Taking the following steps will not take a lot of time or cost a lot of money, but they can produce measurable results.

Sincerely acknowledge and thank your colleagues, co-workers and team members.
Go beyond recognition of good work. Let people know they are important members of the organisation because of their character, reliability and loyalty as well as their actions and commitment to supporting the business.

Maintain an open-door policy.
Let people know you are available and encourage your team members to talk to you about any concerns, fears, hopes or aspirations they have, be present and really listen, make an authentic effort to develop an emotional connection. You can't solve all the big problems today, but the point is - they don't need you, they just need to know that you care about their wellbeing.

Give people the opportunity to contribute.
Enable them to lead projects and make decisions within their abilities and talents. In essence, engage people in the important work that needs to be done by giving them the freedom to take on meaningful tasks and solve problems. When you trust people to take responsibility for important work, they will feel valued during difficult times and show greater dedication to their roles and responsibilities.

When things go wrong, stay calm and lead with a steady hand.
If you can't control your emotions and go into full panic mode, they will do the same. When you give up, they will. You need to anticipate and plan for difficult situations, while remaining optimistic and looking for the silver lining in challenging times. Good leaders spot opportunities in the midst of adversity and try to capitalise on them.

When things seem to be falling apart, smart leaders help people to feel connected and to be part of something bigger than themselves.

They remind everyone of the overall goals and vision of the organisation, that people want to belong and feel they are part of a team with a common cause, and that good leaders help them understand how they fit in and why they are important to the organisation's mission.

There are defining experiences in the career of every leader, formal or informal. How you lead in a crisis is one of those critical moments when you can choose to buckle under pressure, become a tyrant and generate more pressure, or you can shine in the dark, uplift people and unleash momentum for those you lead. Follow these five guidelines and you will be amazed at the results. When you bring out your best in moments that define your destiny, you become a role model and inspiration for others. People are willing to endure more and do their part because work becomes a place of hope and promise for the future, and then the organisation somehow comes out the other side and finds itself in a better place.

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