Great Leadership in Times of Crisis

The men and women in charge of our organizations are now faced with uncharted challenges: leading their organization through a global pandemic. In this time of crisis, most leaders are doing their best to step up and inspire people to do their best. And they’re doing a great job.

One of the challenges is the evolving new normal. Rapidly changing guidelines, mandates, and infrastructure require continual monitoring and adjustments. Leaders are in a constant state of discovery, decision making, designing, and implementation. This requires resilience, collaboration, and great communication.

Those who are able to adapt quickly and wisely are best positioned to lead their organization, and in many cases, their entire nation, in novel ways. Great leadership in times of crisis will see us through to the other side.

AS - Understanding leadership

Business Continuity

Business continuity management is more important than ever.

Based on the conversations I’ve had with leaders, developing, refining, and implementing contingency plans is well underway.

With careful attention to employee safety and preparedness, leaders can minimize risk, and in some cases, position themselves for post-crisis growth.

Below are a few leadership best practices.Are you taking these steps?

Legal Obligations

First, and foremost, focus on employee safety. Review policies, and then identify actual practices. (What happens in the field may not be the actual procedures management recommends.) Ensure you have adequate communicable-illness plans and practices in place.

Credible Authorities and Resources

Depending on the size and reach of your organization, these may need to be local, regional, national, and global, and could include CDC, WHO, Department of Health and ATO.

Contingency Plans

If you haven’t mapped out or developed contingency plans, take a look at the tools and resources developed by the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), here. While they are designed for Red Cross organizations and volunteers, they offer any leader elements to consider in a pandemic.

Identify a crisis management team with the authority and autonomy to work through bottlenecks. Identify cross-functional alternates in different scenarios to: stabilize supply chain, monitor and test financials, protect the workforce, engage customers, and coordinate communication.

Review your absence policies, including when/how employees can return to work. Some employers have been forced to reduce their work force. Review your benefits policies.

Empower and equip remote/telecommute work. A member of your crisis-management team should work closely with IT, HR, communications, and facilities to identify resources and requirements for remote workers.

If you haven’t already, ask every team leader and manager to identify tasks that can be completed remotely, and who is capable of completing the tasks.

Identify data-security issues and resolutions.

Establish communication protocol. In my next post, I’ll dive into this a bit deeper, but for now, ensure that employee contact information is up to date, and the crisis-management team has the current information.

Determine measurable performance metrics to improve efficiencies and enhance future change.

Companies in China can teach us a great deal about leadership in a time of crisis. Smart policies, the anticipation and mitigation of operational roadblocks, and most importantly, the care of our employees and clients will help us through.

What do you think? How are you doing? How can i help?

Let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Learn more about Scaling Up’s methodology