In the midst of time tumultuous time, how can leaders bring out the best in those they’re charged to lead?
A good place to start is by looking backward; examining past crisis for the traits people sought out, and valued most, in their leaders.
Fortunately, Gallup Organization has done that. They studied the fears, concerns, and confidence of citizens from across the world through many of the biggest crisis of the past 80 years — including the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and World War II, Kennedy’s assassination, civil unrest in the 1960s, 9/11, the 2008 financial crash, and now, the COVID-19 pandemic.
As they did, one thing became clear. In the midst of crisis, people look to leaders to allay their fears and bolster their confidence; to reassure them that they’ll be okay, even if things will be rough in the short term.
It’s why in this period of intersecting crisis – employment, economic, social, political, public health – leaders must be even more intentional in how they ‘show up’ for others. Gallup’s study distilled the leadership attributes people are seeking into four core universal needs
Trust: Be predictable in an unpredictable time
That leaders should act with integrity and be trust-worthy is a given. In the midst of crisis, when so much is outside a leaders control, people also want to trust that leaders are at least in control of themselves. Sure much is uncertain, but at least they can be certain that their leader will do the right thing, even if it costs them.
The 5 Biggest Healthcare Trends In 2021 Everyone Should Be Ready For Today
Electoral College 2020: Biden Wins Michigan, One State Away From Victory
How To Keep Political Distractions Out Of The Workplace
Being able to count on behavioral predictability is a lynchpin to sustaining this trust. Leaders who are inconsistent in their decision making, show a lack of emotional mastery or are prone to being reactive under pressure only stoke anxiety in their ranks. No-one does their best work when they’re afraid.
Where can you be more consistent and predictable between your values and actions?
Compassion: Show that you care about what they care about
The adage that people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care is never truer than in crisis. When people feel anxious about their future, demonstrating that you genuinely care about what they care about is imperative to keeping them engaged and focused on your team or organizations ‘mission critical’ priorities.
On the flipside, if people assess their manager really doesn’t care much about them personally, there’s little chance they’ll be fully engaged in their work, much less be willing to go the extra mile when it might matter most to the organization.
In turbulent times such as these, leaders must be deeply connected to the emotional landscape of those in their ranks. This is rarely comfortable work. At times, it can require immense vulnerability. Yet connecting from the heart, not just the head, lays at the heart of real leadership.
Are you regularly conveying to team members – through your words and small daily actions – that you truly care about what they care about?
Stability: Ensure everyone knows what to focus on and why
It’s part of the human condition to seek certainty. So when people feel their future is under threat, they crave frequent assurance and clear direction so they can prioritize effectively and avoid overwhelm. As people work remotely, it’s even more vital to ensure they’re clear about what ‘success’ should look like.
Gallup research found that only 39% of U.S. employees ‘strongly agree’ their employer communicated a clear plan of action in response to COVID-19. So it is better to risk over-communicating – using multiple mediums and touchpoints – than to risk under communicating. Unless people are clear about what leadership is thinking, doing and why, the communication vacuum will be filled with catastrophizing worst case scenarios and rumors running wild.
As you communicate plans and update progress, expand the context for those on the front line so they can see a higher purpose beyond their daily grind. People want to find meaning in hardships, to know that their ‘hard yards’ are contributing to a cause greater than themselves.
Link what you’re asking of them to what lays at stake, using accessible language they can adopt in their own conversations. Make it easy for them to answer for themselves ‘For the sake of what am I doing this?’ Doing activates the ‘rally effect’, getting everyone pulling together, and guarding against tunnel vision.
Is every single person in your team is clear about your plans, priorities, progress and the higher purpose your collectively working toward? If not, what other way can you communicate with them? Try talking more, texting less.
Hope: Fuel optimism for a future worth working toward
Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl observed that the deciding factor between those who survived the brutality of Nazi concentration camps came down to hope of future happiness. Those who could resist succumbing to despair, found that their hope “gave them courage” to press on even in the bleakest of times. Frankl among them.
Hope is a precious capital. Hopeful employees are more creative, courageous, agile and resilient. So as you share plans and progress, express your firm belief that the goals you’ve set are doable and that the vision you’re rallying people behind is achievable.
Hope isn’t about denying the harsh reality. Nor is about ‘toxic positivity’ and Pollyanna optimism. Rather it’s being able to confront the brutal reality of a situation while also keeping faith that you will ultimately prevail and better days lay ahead. To paraphrase Nelson Mandela, ‘May how you lead reflect your hopes, not your fears.’
Does your demeanor speak optimism? Do your conversations fuel a sense of hope for the future?
By spreading ‘positive emotional contagion’ – through trust, compassion, stability and hope – leaders foster the conditions for people to do their best work and bring their boldest thinking to the most pressing challenges at hand, particularly in the toughest of times.
In doing so, you leaders transform shared adversity into a catalyst for growth, for collaboration and for innovation toward stronger outcomes than would ever have been possible otherwise.
Drawing on what we can learn by looking backward, it’s now time to look forward, rallying all stakeholders behind a shared vision toward a better, brighter, future.
Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/margiewarrell/2021/01/11/the-four-universal-traits-people-seek-from-leaders-during-crisis/?sh=3afed522590d