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Becoming an effective leader in times of uncertaintyMay 20th, 2020 by
In this time of uncertainty, business owners are being put to the ultimate test. Many are being forced to shut their doors permanently, while others are waiting to see what the future holds after COVID-19. Now is the time to improve upon and implement effective leadership and strategic planning. When times get tough, employees look to their business leaders for hope and guidance. Here are a few ways you can be an effective leader in times of uncertainty.
Recognize and allow natural reactions to crisis
When a crisis hits, recognize that employees will most likely respond with uncertainty, anger, or even panic. An effective management technique is to allow them to share their feelings without constraint. Most importantly, listen with compassion while withholding judgment. Let them know their feelings are natural and that there is no “right” way to respond to crises.
When the initial reaction is out of the way, most people will be open to guidance, especially if it comes from a confident source. Use this opportunity to encourage your employees and provide clear direction. When people are industrious and focused on specific tasks, they have less idle time to worry about what may or may not happen.
Don’t forget that even leaders need to express their feelings, but it is generally best not to do this with employees. After all, they are expecting you to hold yourself together so you can lead them effectively. Instead, look to family and friends when you need advice, support, or simply someone who will listen to you.
Strengthen relationships with employees
When tough times come along, they aren’t all gloom and doom. In fact, difficult times often provide an opportunity for you to strengthen relationships with employees. It may seem hard to establish or maintain strong relationships if you’re forced to social distance, but it isn’t impossible. Just keep the lines of communication open in any way you can.
Suggestions include holding regular meetings using virtual meeting software. You may also want to connect one on one with employees through emails, texts, or phone calls to make sure they’re doing OK and their needs are being met.
During a crisis, your employees need to know you care about them. Acknowledge that they are highly valued and that you will do what you can to keep them employed. If you need to make layoffs, make sure they know it is a last resort. If possible, provide them with severance packages so they aren’t left high and dry in an economic downturn.
Lack of communication allows the mind to travel to the worst possible scenario. Even if your business is struggling, it’s always better to be honest with your employees than to try and hide information from them. If possible, temper your honesty with optimism.
Be transparent about the company’s current situation with your employees, but reassure them that you’re creating a strategy to succeed. Open and frequent communication is key to making sure everyone is on the same page. It can also help squash rumors before they go too far.
Consider holding a Q&A session with your employees so they can get answers to any concerns they currently have.
Use your resources wisely
While it’s important to stay optimistic through hard times, an effective leader should never be unrealistic or spend money unwisely. Instead, use your time and resources to save money while still maintaining critical business operations. Avoid frivolous spending and use your money in ways that will give you the best return on investment.
Let your team help you
It’s tempting to coddle your staff during hard times, but doing so can be counterproductive. Don’t attempt to do everything yourself and minimize your employees’ responsibilities. Your team needs to know that you value their skills and services now more than ever before. Let them help you find success during this time.
Strengthen relationships with customers
Too many businesses make the mistake of relaxing their customer service standards when faced with a crisis. This is the last thing you should do. Remember, your customers may be just as worried as you, and they will take their business to whoever treats them best and makes them feel most at ease.
During tough times, make an extra effort to reach out to your customers. Acknowledge that they may still be trying to make sense of a new situation, but let them know you’re ready and waiting to meet all their needs. Connecting with them on a regular basis will build trust and keep your business top of mind.
Be determined instead of defeated
When all seems lost, you may want to throw your hands up and admit defeat, but remember how many people are counting on you to be an effective leader. Instead of adopting a defeated attitude, focus your determination on what you can do. Be ready to make the hard choices that are necessary to help your business survive.
An economic downturn won’t last forever. If you can become a strategic problem solver, you’ll have a better chance of saving your business and coming out even stronger when the economy recovers.
Let GuildQuality help you
GuildQuality can help you become a more effective leader by collecting customer feedback on your behalf. This allows you to take the necessary steps to improve your business for your customers and employees. Welcoming feedback is a great way to encourage transparency and your customers will appreciate the efforts you are making. Contact GuildQuality today to get started.