Of all the things business leaders have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, the most important aspect of leadership is communication. Through open and honest communication with staff, managers and leadership, your business will fare far better than if you fail to communicate effectively with your team.
By Jeff Bevis Contributor
During a major crisis, your staff will be worried, anxious, concerned and scared. Will they have a job? Will they have to work from home? Will they get sick? These are all concerns that people have and your job as a leader is to communicate exactly how you will support them and exactly what your business is doing to achieve that. They will also benefit from your honest assessment of the future of the business and how you are addressing its survivability. Clarify every step your business is undertaking, and provide information every day if necessary.
Left without direct leadership communication, staff could misunderstand what is going on, leading to further stress and anxiety. If they feel unsupported and adrift, your employees will be less likely to support you, and that can be a potential business disaster.
As a business leader, it’s up to you to set the tone for the communications with your staff and management. Calm, firm and consistent communications will show your commitment to both your staff and your leadership. Here are three leadership keys to help support your team during a crisis.
Establish regular communication networks
During a crisis, communication is everything. It’s easy for misinformation to spread without direct communication channels with all employees. In a larger business, try working with smaller groups or by department. Encourage employees to ask questions and express their concerns, needs, uncertainties and family or work pressures. Maybe they are unfamiliar with new work procedures, such as working from home, or worried about learning new processes. Express your flexibility and willingness to adapt, it will be appreciated.
Lean on company leadership
You can’t do it all, so have a clear conversation with your leadership that encourages them to step up and rise to the challenges facing the organization during a crisis. Use your leadership team as an extension of you, and let them know you expect them to take on a role as a main means of communicating the company’s crisis plans and status with employees. The team approach assures every employee feels part of the organization’s future.
Show employees you care
Most employees want to feel valued by their bosses. It’s often more important to an employee than wages. So, during a crisis it’s even more crucial to let employees know you care about their well-being. Let them know your business wants them to feel safe and secure, and that their health is the number one concern.
Your employees want the business succeed too, so share with them your recovery plan and the steps you are taking to recover and thrive, not just survive. Being informed will help your employees feel they are part of the success.
Read more from Forbes