3 Strategies for Supporting Your Team Through a Crisis

3 Strategies for Supporting Your Team Through a Crisis

Our world is shifting by the minute these days, forcing business leaders to ask themselves an extremely difficult question – how do we lead through the COVID-19 crisis now, and also in the post-pandemic era?

Motivating, inspiring, and driving teams is difficult enough, but doing that with now understaffed and overwhelmed teams is an entirely new game.

While there’s no playbook for this, there are important factors to keep in mind to ensure you’re leading with sensitivity, authenticity, and strength.

1) Be Emotionally Aware

It’s been a tough year all around. For employees, companies, parents, children, teachers, frontline workers – everyone has been impacted in some way during the pandemic. So for leaders, it’s critical to ensure employees feel heard, respected, and valued – now more than ever.

Ali Ghani, an entrepreneur from Calgary, Canada, stresses that leaders have to remember to be aware of their staff needs during this time.

“Now and into the future, it’s imperative that leaders work to accommodate their teams as much as possible,” Ghani shares. “The means being emotionally aware of what team members need as they adjust to this new world – whether that’s encouragement, space, flexibility, or something else entirely.”

2) Maintain Perspective

“A crisis can exert a high impact on human needs, emotions, and behaviors,” says Gene Klann, author of the book, Crisis Leadership. “We may not be conscious of this, but our behaviors send messages to others about our own underlying needs and emotions.”

This means that leaders need to be aware of their own feelings, and how those reactions may influence others – especially fellow team members.

To help combat this, stay in the moment. Take one issue, one crisis, one success – take everything one day at a time.

While things may seem overwhelming at times, looking at the issues individually instead of collectively will make a significant difference.

“Concentrate on the greater vision you have of yourself, both personally and professionally. Think about where you will be and what you will be doing a year from now,” Klann says. “Stop and realize that you are alive and that much good will come out of the crisis.”

3) Be OK With Not Being OK

We all know that open and honest communication is key. But in times of crisis, it can be incredibly difficult to do this when we just don’t know anything.

But that’s OK.

“It’s perfectly acceptable if you don’t have all the answers all the time,“ shares Ali Ghani.

In fact, it’s OK to say, “I don’t know yet.”

Employees are craving honest communication in the workplace right now, however that may come.

“While you may not know the answers, you can at least provide unity and honesty, even in times of uncertainty,” adds Ghani.

One thing is for certain…

As we continue to work through this pandemic, and prepare for a post-pandemic world, we all need to be flexible, authentic, and compassionate – both as leaders and as teammates.

Paul Petersen