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How to Lead Your Team During a Crisis

by Roveen Anyango
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As a leader, so much depends on you at every turn and you need to be not just knowledgeable in dealing with things, but also have enough composure to not crumble under pressure.

Having composure in crisis is easier said than done, however. But as a leader, you need to always be willing to learn, and below we look at ways of improving your crisis management.

Seek credible information

During a crisis, it is often very easy to latch onto whatever information we have and go with it. However, when leading, you need to avoid falling into this trap. Not only will misinformation make a crisis worse, it will also make you and your team’s response to the crisis worse.

So, instead, seek credible information on any crisis. If the crisis is beyond your company, consult with people knowledgeable on it so that you can chart a way forward. For example, if a pandemic is unfolding, consult with health experts on how to do things at the workplace to reduce risk of infection.

Be open and honest

Sometimes, the natural reaction to a crisis is to withdraw. Often, it seems as though we cannot believe what is happening.

As a leader, going silent on your team when something is up will only lead to crumbling. It will affect the workplace environment and productivity, as speculation goes wild and theories are thrown around.

While you don’t need to share every detail of every crisis, let the team know what is happening. This reduces speculation and fear.

Be open to questions

As you communicate with the team, this will inevitably lead to them having questions. Rather than shut them down, be open to answering them to the best of your ability.

Even when you do not know something, rather than simply refusing to answer, instead, say something like, ‘I don’t know (about that) but we will update you as new information comes in.’

During a crisis, responding to your team’s questions helps provide a sense of control to them, which helps reduce fear and anxiety.

Show support

The best way to show you care for your team is by showing support to them. Reach out to members and get to know how they are doing. How is the crisis affecting them? How are they coping? And how can you help them?

If possible, give them some time off so that they can get away from the crisis (if its internal). Encourage them to eat well, have rest and exercise.

Crisis are often unforgiving, but with the right attitude and approach, as a leader and business owner, you can emerge on the other side with a stronger, more dedicated team.

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