We are living in precarious and uncertain times. With the spread of COVID-19, we have seen, very quickly, the global economy slow to a crawl. In Canada, with many companies deemed non-essential services having to close their offices, they are left to wonder, “How am I going to keep my business going through this crisis?” It’s time now, more than ever, to step up and be the leader you that is required of you.
Here are five key measures you can take now to lead your company through this tough time.
Remain Calm/Maintain Personal Wellness
It’s not possible to lead effectively if your personal wellness and mental wellness are compromised. Taking care of yourself spiritually, physically, and emotionally should be a top priority. That means if you are working from home, create a defined workspace and a defined schedule so that your work life does not bleed into your personal life.
You may want to avoid the news and social media, as it can have a toxic effect and cause feelings of isolation and depression (at the very least, take the wind out of your sails). Meditation can help you find peace and balance. Make sure that you get as much exercise as you can, and make sure that you get a good night’s sleep. Taking care of yourself is going to be the first step in effectively leading your company through the COVID-19 crisis.
The COVID crisis seems to be changing on a daily, or almost hourly, basis. There is so much unpredictability in terms of what’s coming down the line, that it’s very challenging to strategize for that.
Having a clear and defined strategy in place is important, but it’s also important to understand what is in your control and what is not in your control. Focus all of your attention on the things that you can control. This will help to simplify your workload and help you to determine goals and a course of action.
Again, as things are changing so rapidly, try to make things smaller. Try not to concern yourself with what you’re going to do in the next year or two, but rather concentrate on what you and your team can achieve this week, or even just today. This will help you achieve your goals much faster and weather this storm much more effectively.
There’s a good chance that your team, or at least some of your people have been forced to work remotely. This can be a new and shocking way to work for people who are not accustomed to it. The key to succeeding here is over-communicating.
A lack of communication or silence can cause fear, resentment, and paranoia among team members. Over-communicating resolves this issue. Set up team huddles to discuss with your team what immediate milestones need to be accomplished, and what is coming down the line.
Schedule these as you feel appropriate. You could have multiple huddles a day, you could have one a day, you could have them a few times a week. It really depends on your team’s needs. But make sure that you’re having that Zoom communication, or that phone communication consistently.
Ensure that you have the right tools for communication. Just about everybody has heard of Zoom at this point, which is ideal for video conferencing, but another application that can benefit your business is Slack. Slack is a texting or instant messaging application which allows you to communicate with multiple team members about multiple projects, in real time. This will dramatically reduce the amount of emails that are going back and forth, which can clog up and confuse an inbox.
Lastly, make sure that your communication with your team is both on a professional level and a personal level. There is so much fear and uncertainty right now. The members of your team and your company are as isolated and unsure as you are. They may not even be sure if they’ll have jobs anymore. It’s your job to make them feel valuable. It’s your job to make sure they know you’re going to stand by them, and to see if they need support, not just in a professional capacity, but on a personal level. Let them talk to you. Let them be open and honest with you, and then be loving and supporting to them.
Be Compassionate and Honest
Whether you’re dealing with your team, with your clients, or even your new prospects, make sure that you are both compassionate about the current situation, and honest and truthful with them about how it’s impacting your company. With regard to your team, you have to be fair to them and explain to them what’s going on. You can still do this in a very positive and supportive way, but make sure that you’re truthful with them and to set expectations accurately for what’s coming in the future (as best you can). Be a shoulder to lean on.
With your existing clients, keep them well informed that you’re taking all the measures you can to support them and to continue working effectively. If you can’t, if you’ve been shut down by the government, make sure that they know that you have a plan to start up again, and that you’re going to hit the ground running. Make sure that you secure those relationships.
Seek Peer Support
It is lonely at the top, and it’s never been lonelier at the top than it is right now. Don’t go through this alone! Make sure that you lean on your peers to share ideas, share challenges, and share the solutions that you’ve come up with for those challenges. If you’re not a member of a peer support group, create a peer support group. Invite trusted CEOs or business owners to come in and join you once a week on a video conference call to exchange ideas and solutions.
While this all is incredibly unstable and new, this will be far more manageable with excellent leadership. Follow these tips, and you’ll be off to a strong start in weathering the storm of COVID-19. God bless you, and we are here to support you should you need us.
Andy Bush is President of Bush Marketing. Contact him today at 416-214-4298 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a discussion about how Bush Marketing can help your website do more for your business.