Leadership in a Time of Crisis

Posted By Mike Meyer, Monday, August 31, 2020


By Wendy Collier

A medical spa owner's responsibility as a leader takes on an entirely different meaning during crisis—especially a global crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This experience has tested even the strongest, most optimistic businesspeople. Leaders not only have to manage their own emotions and hardship, but also must ask themselves how to be the best leaders possible for the people looking to them for direction.

Leaders are born, and often reborn, during times like these. This presents incredible opportunities for growth and change. What you once thought about your own leadership has most likely shifted as you have been faced with a world of challenges.

Throughout history, there are excellent examples of what it looks like to lead during crisis. Among the most notable was President John F. Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, when the president's commitment to negotiating and finding common ground was determined to be the skill that prevented a worldwide catastrophe, according to Peter Kornbluh, senior analyst and Cuba expert at the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C.

As Winston Churchill said, "The future is unknowable, but the past should give us hope." This country and this industry are resilient, innovative, resourceful and strong.

Key Leadership Traits

So how can leaders set an example during times of great uncertainty? There are a few key traits people look for in leaders during times like this.

Honesty and transparency. Honesty and transparency are at the top of the list. People respond extremely well to being respected and trusted enough to be told the truth. Your candor as a leader is essential at this time. This, in turn, creates a culture of trust and loyalty, with benefits extending far into the future.

To this end, what can you share or inform your staff about right now that needs to be said? What have you been holding back out of fear of their reaction? What do you need to tell your patients, but have been putting off?

Even though Kennedy knew the news of the Russian missiles headed to Cuba and imminent nuclear war could cause incredible panic, he chose to get on TV and tell the American public the truth. He didn't wait until the problem was resolved—he kept everyone informed from the start and with honesty, and updated the public as the situation progressed.

This leads to another very important leadership quality during times of crisis and beyond: clear and consistent communication.

Clear and consistent communication. There's nothing worse than being in the dark during chaotic times. When things are uncertain, especially this uncertain, people need to be updated and informed more frequently than ever before. Consider overcommunicating, scheduling more meetings than usual and sending ongoing written updates.

As you are communicating decisions and new policies, it is very important to tell your people why those decisions were made. Treat them as the adults they are and, in turn, they will get on board with the choices being made. Better yet, involve your staff in the decision-making process—get their input and ideas as things progress. You might be surprised by who steps forward and offers a brilliant solution, if given a chance.

Generosity and caring. Last, but definitely not least: Be a generous and caring leader. When people are fearful—when they question the future—they need their leaders to show some heart. What gesture, however small, might mean the world to your staff? What can you do to reassure your patients? How can you contribute to your community at this time?

Look to the Future

When you look into the future, what do you see? Can you create or recreate a vision you can get excited about and share with your staff? Everyone is navigating a new landscape now. Does your long-term vision take into consideration this unfamiliar terrain? When it does, you assure not only your survival, but also your success. Those who are agile and can adapt and innovate during this time will come through this beautifully. The opportunities are bigger than ever. This is an incredible chance to evolve your leadership—to do things differently, adopt new practices and reignite your vision. When you do, you will become a truly inspirational leader.

Kennedy said, "It is time for a new generation of leadership to cope with new problems and new opportunities, for there is a new world to be won." And this could not be truer than it is right now.

Wendy Collier is a business, marketing and mindset coach dedicated to helping her clients reach the next level in business and in life. She applies her Psychology and Communications degree, Franklin Covey Leadership Coaching Certification, Advanced ICF Coaching Training at CoachVille, and 21 years of marketing experience at Fortune 500 and Forbes Top 100 companies to help business professionals create options for themselves while making a difference. Collier is now running a thriving coaching business that empowers professionals to make money doing what they love while transforming their lives and the world around them. Collier can be contacted at 408.857.4310 or wendy@wendycollier.com, or visit her website at WendyCollier.com.

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