We are living in the age of the Coronavirus pandemic, and the word ‘crisis’ could not get more definite. The entire work culture has taken a shift and it is commendable how work is still being executed due to sheer human effort and the astonishing power of technology. But it is crisis situations like these that test a leader’s grit and what they can do to save the ship from sinking. Usually, there is an entire handbook of ‘dos’ that a leader must follow to do this.
However, this blog is not about the dos. It is about the don’ts.
It is not always required of a leader to resort to the ‘flight or fight’ instinct during a crisis and do everything that they should. Sometimes, a collapsing situation can be handled with the utmost integrity by avoiding certain behaviors and tasks. While different companies can face crises of different gravitas, all leaders should follow the same basics of crisis management.
So, let us take a look at the 5 things leaders should avoid during crisis at any cost!
1. Don’t Be The Hero!
Lose that cape, please.
In any given crisis, a leader is not the knight in shining armor who must have all the answers – because the truth is, you won’t have them! Instead of micromanaging, gather all the help that you can from your subordinates. This will also give your team a sense of belonging and purpose, strengthening your core values as a company.
Acting like a hero during a crisis will also lead to burnout, which will not motivate employees to perform better. And in uncertain times, a leader must revise strategies and motivate others to follow them. So, as a leader, be vulnerable and adaptable, and avoid being a superhero – be a common man, and you are good to go!
How Your HR Team Can Help: Information tracking through Human Resource Information System (HRIS) that can help leaders delegate particular work to suitable employees based on their skills and experience.
2. Avoid Miscommunication
Communication is the key. Cliche`, but always relevant!
One of the most important things leaders should avoid during crisis is engaging in miscommunication. If you are a leader faced with a challenge, then be authentic, genuine, and absolutely honest to your employees. Instead of altering ways of communication, come up with plans on how to stay connected.
Crisis calls for new strategies and business plans, and it is only through effective communication that a leader can keep everyone in the loop. Even during situations of hardship, it is pivotal for the leader to continue team meetings, virtual and phone conversations, and intranet updates. The more you keep everyone informed, the smoother will be the process of handling the crisis.
How Your HR Team Can Help: Crisis Communications Plan and create a common virtual space where progress and details of the work can be effectively communicated to all employees.
3. Don’t Exhibit Antipathy
Crisis calls for empathy, not antipathy.
Not only a leader, but the entire team suffers a huge deal of shock and anxiety during a crisis. This is why don’t be the quintessential leader who reprimands their team members to ‘ get work done ’. Be a true leader, and give the support your employees need. A mutual exchange of respect and empathy will motivate everyone to get through the crisis.
It is in hot water that people reveal their authentic selves, and as a leader, you must send out the message loud and clear – that crisis or not, you will be there for your team!
How Your HR Team Can Help: Send positive affirmations and encouraging emails to employees on your behalf. An HR Team can also devise Employee Assistance Programs that can connect employees to mental health professionals that they may need to talk to.
4. Avoid Conflict
“I believe a leader needs to avoid conflicts at all costs and promote coordination and team spirit amongst teams.” – Rajendra Ghag, CHRO, Blue Dart Express Ltd.
It is paramount that a leader ensures to avoid any sort of internal and external conflict during a crisis. Conflicts are part-and-parcel of company dynamics and can be handled well during normalcy; but during a crisis, leaders might find themselves inept to deal with it.
Leaders must ensure that there is a cordial air in the work environment as team spirit and harmony are essential requisites to manage a crisis. So, conflict of any sort is one of the top things leaders should avoid during crisis situations.
How Your HR Team Can Help: Policy and Process Management that can lay down rules of conduct of employees during a crisis in order to avoid conflict.
5. Avoid Quick Fixes
It’s a crisis, not a paper cut!
Even though a crisis is uncertain and mostly unexpected, you need not feel panicky and resort to short-term gains and quick fixes. The overwhelming pressure of a crisis is understandable, but a leader should not be hasty to make decisions that will benefit the company only for a short period of time. A decision taken for a certain time frame can sabotage a company’s years of hard work and brand building.
As a leader, you must discuss with your entire team and formulate new agendas and plans that can benefit the company during and after a crisis.
How Your HR Team Can Help: Business Continuity plans to keep the business from crumbling, and strategies to delegate work to subordinates properly.
So, all in all, we can see that the ‘don’ts’ of crisis management can either make or break a company’s leadership. These 5 things leaders should avoid during crisis so as to sail smoothly through turbulent times. And every leader needs a dedicated and effective team of HR professionals to make this process a little easier. And if you are a leader, then hunt no more. Head out to Headsup Corporation.