Who springs to mind for you when you think of an example of exceptional leaders through a crisis?
For me it is Winston Churchill.
Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister for the UK during World War II was known to be exceptional in leading through a crisis. I quite love political history – and came across an explanation of how he structured his approach which resulted in him being seen as a symbol of triumph over hardship. I was surprised just how relevant this is for what leaders need now, to recover and rebuild as we make re-entry to a post Covid-19 world.
Over the next couple of articles I am going to share his framework. Today begins with the first 2 steps.
1 – Frame the Crisis
Explain what is happening now (I wrote about the importance of having transparent communication with your team in this article, as it helps reduce their fears of uncertainty.
Make sure your team understand the likely short and long term challenges as it gives them a reason to act.
You may need to have an open Q & A session where everyone gets to ask questions, until there are no more questions. Some politicians are using this technique with the media so that we all feel we are getting the answers we need. Do you need to have all the answers right now? Or could you come back to them?
You almost want your people to be sitting in silence, tuckered out with nothing left in the tank to ask. This is a powerful exercise. For the leader and the team.
Tip 2 – Invoke a Sense of Destiny
“This was their finest hour” a very famous quote from Churchill.
Your people need to feel like they are made to rise to the challenge. This could be our opportunity to match what our grandparents and great grandparents had to deal with in past world wars or times of adversity. And as a Leader it is your opportunity to shine. Churchill was known for using emotive language to rally the troops.
While that might not be your style, make sure your language and message is looking to the future of getting past this. Even if you are having your own doubts.
Churchill was known for having depression while he was PM, while he still was able to inspire his people.
Once a week, be it in your normal meeting or even a weekly email, send out some kind of message of hope and belief in your people. If you have an internal messaging system, use that. Connect it to what you are hearing are their greatest concerns. You may not have all the answers, but by letting your team know you hear them, and intend to get them to the other side of this, will settle some anxiety and increase motivation to act towards important goals.
This type of messaging does work.
How will you frame the current situation? How will you invoke a sense of destiny?
Margie Ireland, Director of Connect-Inspire-Transform, works with CEO’s, executives, HR professionals, managers and leaders. Margie is a Psychologist with a strong commercial background of 25 years and specialises in supporting highly capable leaders to thrive in challenging times. To discuss your needs and to book an initial no-obligation 15 minute call, click here. Alternatively, take a look at Margie’s Tailored Leadership Coaching packages.