What does it look like to communicate well and lead differently with your team in times of crisis? Here are three tips for crisis communication:
1. Accurately Assess and Convey Your Current Reality
Because a crisis ushers in uncertainty, change, volatility and the unknown, your team needs you to provide an accurate assessment of the situation coupled with clear information about your current reality and what you anticipate, especially in the near future.
As a leader, don’t overstate nor minimize things. Simply share what you know to the best of your ability. And if you don’t know something, it’s ok to simply tell your team you don’t know. But also let them know what steps you’ll take to find out and when you’ll get back with them to provide the information they need.
Providing a thoughtful, honest and accurate assessment of the current situation helps calm team members’ concerns and gives a sense of assurance in uncertainty. It helps address anxiety and enables team members to engage instead of being distracted
2. Address Team Concerns and Questions
During a crisis, people experience a variety of concerns and questions, but often the most pressing question people face is: “What will happen to me?” “How will this affect me and my role?”
Based on your accurate assessment, provide specific information about how the current challenges may affect your team today, in the near future and in the long term. Honestly address changes that may need to be implemented due to the crisis. Reassure your team members based on what you know making sure to avoid sweeping generalizations or promises that cannot be fulfilled. Try to anticipate the questions your team members may be thinking and address those questions or concerns before they’re voiced. This demonstrates your attentiveness and understanding of your team members, what they’re experiencing and how the crisis may be affecting them.
3. Awaken Hope and Motivation
The crisis you may be facing today will end. You may not know when or how, but the challenges, the difficulties, the fear, the anxiety, the unknown will eventually cease. While in crisis, it may be hard to see the “light at the end of the tunnel,” but as a leader, it’s important to remind your team to be hopeful.
Cheering you on to Lead Different,
Dr. Rick Franklin
Vice President, Arrow Leadership