A crisis isn’t really anyone’s idea of a ‘good time’ and many business leaders resign themselves to the work of struggling to get by and having to motivate themselves and their teams daily.
But what if I told you that your team could do more than survive during turmoil – that you could actually thrive?
The toughest times can make the strongest people and strong people make strong teams. And strong teams build strong businesses.
If you see crisis as an opportunity, your team and company can come out the other side even stronger and more resilient than ever before. If you build the right skills to empower your team, you’ll realize better overall results than you ever thought possible.
Your team will be more collaborative. Each member of the team will feel empowered to pursue their own personal and professional development. Relationships between team members and managers will be stronger. If you can master leadership during a crisis, your team will reap the benefits in times of quiet stability.
There are five things you need to focus on while leading through crisis to truly set the groundwork for record results:
#1) Strengthen Team Bonds & Enhance Company Culture
Your team likely feels a bit scattered, untethered, and insecure during times of crisis. Their routines have been toppled and their home lives are upended.
Because they don’t have a lot of certainty – or even predictability – about the future, they may feel like they’re treading water with no shore in sight. Their energy and motivation are sporadic, at best, and non-existent, at worst.
Of course, one person having an off day won’t drag down the business as a whole but an entire team? Feeling off-kilter for weeks or months at a time? Now that’s a challenge.
This takes more than going around a circle and sharing your favorite ice cream flavor in an effort to “get to know each other better.” Building strong team bonds is about creating a space where employees feel safe to speak up, to ask for help, to offer guidance, and to contribute what they can for the betterment of the group.
Throughout the duration of the crisis, what team members will be able to give will fluctuate and you need to foster a culture of flexibility and resilience to combat the potential downfalls.
Encourage collaboration so that when these output fluctuations crop up, you’re able to tackle them as a team. This will boost morale and camaraderie and will help ensure continued results no matter the short-term struggles.
#2) Give Your Team Their Power Back
Unexpected, sudden, and dramatic change can cause your employees to feel helpless, lost, and stressed. Perhaps you have felt the same way and are struggling to find ways to encourage yourself, much less your team.
These feelings are exhausting and demotivating which can leave you and your team’s output in the gutter.
First, you need to tackle your own inner challenges. You need to establish your own resilience and internal guidance. Once you handle your inner work, you can then pivot to focusing on your team’s struggles.
By working through their individual thoughts, and feelings about the events taking place, you can develop systems to give them a sense of ownership and control during a time when they’d otherwise feel at mercy to their situation. The more power they feel they have to make decisions and make an impact, the more they’ll be able to reconcile uncertainty and move forward.
Giving them feelings of control will help your team to step up and be motivated to help. Individual power leads to collaborative action.
#3) Fast-Track Your Communication
Frequent and thorough communication with your team will not only make sure you’re all the same page, but it will also make your team feel valued.
Sharing information, decisions, and challenges allows them to be part of the process. Your team doesn’t just want to hear the end-result of decisions from the top-down. They want to know the how’s and the why’s. They want to understand the reasoning behind different choices.
When they feel valued and included, they’ll perform better. They’ll feel like part of a community and will take pride in being on the team.
They’ll take a sense of personal ownership and responsibility for the direction of the company and how they can contribute to your overall goals.
Communicate as much as you can as often as you can through as many channels as you have available. Emails, video conferences, phone calls, one-on-one, or one-to-many. More is always better when it comes to communicating during a crisis.
#4) Celebrate Every. Single. Win.
A crisis is no time to withhold praise, appreciation, and gratitude – to yourself or to your team.
Celebrating every win, no matter how small, boosts morale. Individuals with stronger morale will have greater output and teams will forge stronger relationships with each other. Celebrating your team and their accomplishments gives them encouragement and confidence to keep working hard to contribute.
Congratulate yourself and your team each time you reach a goal. Express gratitude anytime a team member rises to the occasion, overcomes a struggle, or offers to help another project. Heartfelt, authentic appreciation boosts energy levels and bonding.
Keeping energy levels high will reinforce the forward momentum you’re building in your team throughout the crisis.
And if you get your giant ship moving in the right direction during times of friction, when the crisis dwindles and normal conditions resume, you’ll be gaining so much speed your team will be unstoppable.
#5) Encourage Continued Leadership Development
Putting your team’s personal and professional relationships first, fostering communication, and celebrating wins of all sizes is pushing your team in the right direction. You’re gaining momentum. You’re surviving – and maybe even beginning to see the signs of thriving – through this crisis.
Along with organizational momentum, you’re building individual momentum.
Your team is learning how to take initiative, work together collaboratively, and develop their own leadership skills.
Can you imagine what would happen to your company if your entire team was made up of self-motivated, cooperative, innovative, idea-generating, work-completing professionals?
You’d have an entire organization filled with star players who work together for the benefit of the team. You’d be pushing new ideas and developing new products or services.
Your group would be able to communicate through tough times and express themselves in respectfully opposing ways.
Your company culture would be undeniably strong and new recruits would feel the company bonds instantly and be led through the best ways to contribute and be a part of the team.
Leaders are the biggest contributor to company success and if you set out to continually encourage your team toward their own leadership development, you’re going to have an organization full of self-directed, team-oriented players.
Crisis Looks Like Chaos But So Does a Seed Preparing to Bloom
Effective leadership during a chaotic and challenging time can help your business sustain itself during a crisis and thrive once the dust has settled. You can use this turbulent time as an opportunity to try new methods of communication and team development. You can experiment with new ways of leadership and empowering your team members.
Why wouldn’t you use this already-uprooted moment in history as a chance to try new tactics and pivot your processes? This ISN’T business-as-usual territory.
Might as well play around with new strategies to see what sticks and how your team can grow the fastest. You can come out the other side of this with a team of self-driven leaders who find opportunities everywhere they look.
By implementing these five strategies, you can bring your team together to build a stronger, more resilient, collaborative environment than ever before.
In the “Resilience Through Crisis” Toolkit, I’ll give you a plug-and-play communication and team resilience plan packed with step-by-step guides, tools, and templates to help take your team from “Uncertain and Unfocused” to “Unflappable and Unstoppable.”