During these challenging times, it becomes particularly important for leaders to stay laser-focused on the vision of the company and move forward with Company values as well, providing direction and guidance, so employees (who may be confused) know which direction to go.
COVID 19 is forcing Owners/CEOs to engage in Crisis Management -which requires - decisiveness, effectiveness, and maturity. A lot of people respond to a crisis by being overwhelmed by stress, which turns to fear. It is easy to be afraid when in a crisis situation, but if you -(Owners/CEO'S) remain brave, calm, and composed, everyone around you will be too, and together you will get more strength and move forward. You need to be true a master of practicing the Art of Leading and Managing Organizational Change.
Following factors will help you manage crisis:
1. A true grit of a person is tested during times of crisis - be it -Personal, of the Company, or the Economy. Productivity under stress can show how `quick-witted or level-headed a person is, or it can show where their weaknesses lie. Stay cool in difficult situations. It is important to know the Art of Conflict Management.
2. You may not be able to quickly bounce back from a global crisis, but don't let it consume you. Remember COVID 19 crisis has huge implications on employers and employees than any other past crisis (even world war two crisis was not that severe) comparatively-so cooperation and forbearance from both is of paramount importance -both are on survival mode-more, so the employer-who has his Company at stake as well as the welfare and well-being of staff!
3. Communicate openly and honestly. Effective Business Communication is crucial during difficult times in order to even maintain employee engagement at current levels, let alone drive it higher. It's imperative for employees to deeply think and realize the new 'rules of the game' -:
a) To accept the fact that the Company is trying to keep its head over the water. If the Company can 'breath,' it can help employees to breathe!
b) To realize and accept that the Company is working under extreme pressure and reduced capacity, with zero or reduced revenue, therefore low income- which will reflect on all -whether we like it or not!!
c) Dealing with Different Ego-states helps you to work as a team more aggressively (without conflict) than ever before -to weather the storm together, only then can we move mountains and overcome difficulties.
d) To complain less and be more creative -as times demand. Try to learn new skills and become more productive-as the Company cannot now have the luxury of Human Resources as before- so multi-tasking will help you to keep your job.
e) Employers-you have to be cognizant of the employee's situation-their morale- and encourage the staff that good days will come -God willing.
4. Having said above-it is essential for employees-especially the front office- to show sincere interest in every single customer— to explain the new strategy of business-which has been compelled by circumstances. Make them politely understand that the economics have changed and as an employee of the Company you are part of the Company — we are all in it together!!
5. Team building is more important now than ever before. Regular support between management and employees will help a lot in team building.
6. Make customers feel like your guest or good friend and impress upon them: How?
a) Make sure your interaction with the customer was worth your time and customer's time.
b) During these crises - the Company's motive is value service. First, profit becomes a bi-product. Customers are coming to you willingly, make sure they want to come back even during the tough times.
c) Art of Soft Skills needs to be displayed to provide proper guidance and advice to customers- to build loyalty -with current customers and with new ones also. In the middle of a storm, it's the anchor that keeps the ship grounded. When a storm comes, such as a reduction in workforce or an unforeseen crisis, it's important that all employees understand the Company values -vis-a-vis relentlessly customer service.
Every organization is vulnerable to a crisis.
Crisis management is the process by which organizations deal with three disruptive and unexpected events that threaten to harm the Company and its Owners/shareholders:
a) A threat to the Company.
b) The element of surprise- to both employer and employees.
c) A short decision times.
Crisis- is a process of transformation where the old system can no longer be maintained. Therefore the 4th element to take into account is the need for change! Be agile and arrange an intensive brainstorming session to go through the crisis in the Company. The thumb-rule is to accept Murphy's Law, "What can go wrong, will go wrong." Also, to assess the possible damage and consequences.
7. Be an active listener — Best way to keep a pulse on your team or an organization as a whole is through listening. Concentrate, understand, respond, and react to what another person says. When you employ this technique - employees feel heard, which makes them feel cared for and important. You need to be a master of the Art of Empathy too.
Connect emotionally to every conversation by listening with the intent. Listen to the way people are saying things, not just the words. For example, who in your team is using humor in a mature way and keeping morale up? Conversely, who needs more support?
8. "Can do environment"— Even in the toughest times, best leaders work to counter cynical news and fears of unknown just by focusing on what can be done. When employees have an unambiguous understanding of the goals and feel supported by their team, they will often stay more focused. Leaders must create a state of calm for his team.
9. Have a long-term vision— and short-term plan— During times of crisis, it's imperative for the team to understand what's happening -although many times, it's not possible to assess the situation if the crisis is affecting the whole world. However, if the CEO has plans to weather the storm, employees feel more at ease and certain about the future.
10. The leader of the Company must be aware - how to care for the individuals on their team. It's no 'one-size fits all'. Every member of staff has their own hopes, their plans, their future, this enables the leader or CEO to address hard situations one-by-one giving relevant advice -even be it -exit from the Company!
11. Don't be scared-the CEO— to go beyond managing the immediate challenges, and to start to think about what could be around the corner. By discussing future activities with your team, you will let everyone feel in control, which is imperative to performance when pressure builds. It pays to listen to others. Everyone knows at least one thing you didn't know.
The virtue of knowledge is more beloved with God than the virtue of worship. — Holy Prophet Mohamed.