Communication, Management and Leadership through Coronavirus – Here’s What’s Important

We are living in interesting times!

With the relentless media attention around Novel Corona-virus (COVID-19), it would be fair to say that we are currently dealing with a situation that most of us have not experienced before. Stock markets have plunged, wiping billions of dollars off shareholder values in just over three weeks. Announcements have been made that this will have a worse economic impact than the GFC. Reports of some of the elevated behaviours (the craziness with toilet paper alone) seem to have made matters worse.

This is a time when leadership is more important than ever. We need to choose whether to take an informed, proactive and agile approach to manage our way forward to a stronger future, or follow the herd down a pathway of fear, uncertainty and economic loss.

None of us have a crystal ball and we can’t prepare for everything. However, there is much that we can learn from the past to apply to our future.

Natural calamities and disasters are unfortunately a reality of life. This is not the first time we have needed to deal with extraordinary, unpredictable situations and it won’t be the last. What we have learnt from past pandemics is that recovery happens not long after the peak escalation.

First there is the panic, then the recovery.   

Effective leadership is all about being able to turn short term tragedy into a sense of shared purpose, community, optimism and strategy to create a better business for the future.

Here’s what is most important right now in business:

Communication

It is imperative that leaders have a strong communication process that is explicit and transparent, focusing on employees first and managing the impact of fear.

Right now, employees will be experiencing a wide spectrum of emotions and are looking to their leaders for guidance and support emotionally. It’s important for leaders to embody a level of Emotional Intelligence to understand how fear drives radical, damaging behaviour and can create a downward spiral in every part of their business.

Leaders need to communicate with clarity and confidence, reinforcing a sense of security to their employees and customers to avoid a sense of panic.

Communications should always include:

    • what we know
    • what we don’t know
    • what we’re trying to find out
    • what we are doing.     

This is a time to find certainty in amongst the chaos and to create a sense of stability first and foremost. From this place, rational, clear thinking and strategies can be formed.

In times of heightened emotions, people look for community and a sense that they are not alone. This is when leaders must look for ways to show employees they matter and that they and their families belong within their community. It is also an opportunity for leaders to build connection through humility and personal sharing – people need to know that while their leader is employed to manage and run a business, they are also a human being who cares for them and understands what they’re going through.

Management 

In times of uncertainty, employees need direction to maintain a sense of productivity and momentum in their jobs. Whilst building consensus and caring is important, so is achieving tasks that propel the organisation forward, be it in revenue or reaching milestones.

This is a time when managers need to take charge of planning and organising to ensure that essential tasks can be completed in the most effective way. The working strategy needs to bring together people, processes and technology, bringing about improved collaboration, results and profitability.

This may mean creating new ways of working remotely which will be challenging, confusing or even exciting for some. Resources may need to be reallocated if demand changes and there could be new opportunities for creating value during these times.

Managing people means providing them with clear, consistent instructions about HOW to get their job done. When employees feel a sense of clarity and security, they can continue to focus on what matters most.

Leadership

These rapidly changing times are when great leaders can thrive, through role modelling the values and behaviour they want most from their team.

Clear thinking, agility in strategic planning and confident execution are essential to creating a resilient business. Move away from being reactive with a powerful, proactive approach that generates confidence around the future vision.

The vibe, tone and style of communication from leadership is important – it’s not just what you say but how you say it and the energy that you send out through your non-verbal communication.

Recovery can happen much faster than you might think. Projecting a positive, optimistic outlook for the future is essential.  

Six weeks after the Corona-virus outbreak in China, there were signs of being in the early stages of recovery, with several key economic indicators displaying significant positive shifts.

“In the middle of adversity there is great opportunity.”   Albert Einstein

How ICML helps

At ICML, we are here to support business leaders to achieve people and performance outcomes that matter. We have put in place special processes to ensure that our programs are geared to the current needs of the business environment.

We:

  1. Deliver virtual workshops utilising technology such as Zoom or Skype to continue to provide great learning experiences. We facilitate highly impactful and engaging virtual workshops, reaching participants who are working remotely .
  2. Provide specialist leadership support with powerful content that is relevant right now including Managing Remotely, Leading in Times of Crisis, Change Management, Emotional Intelligence, Courageous Conversations, Agility in Leadership, Sales Planning, Communication and Strategy.
  3. Work within the time frames you have available by offering coaching and training programs that last from one hour to much longer.
  4. Tailor our approach to your unique business needs by firstly understanding your challenges and goals, then arranging for one of our highly experienced and talented facilitators to help drive the business outcomes you need most.
  5. Facilitate safe face-to-face workshops, with several precautionary processes in place to maintain the health and well-being of participants including use of sanitisers, avoiding personal contact and keeping appropriate distances.

We are adaptable and flexible in doing what it takes to support your success, so please reach out if you’d like to discuss how we may be able to help you.

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy!

Naomi Smith
Senior Learning Solutions Consultant
naomi.smith [at] icml.com.au

To discuss how we can keep your workforce productive and motivated, contact ICML today.


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1Comment
  • paddy spruce
    Posted at 15:13h, 23 March Reply

    Wise advice in uncertain times. Staff can read too much into silence from Management. Leadership is required now more than ever.

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