Five Leadership Tips for the Coronavirus Crisis
Trust, communications, routines, team spirit and development are just a few of the top tips PhD Margarita Mayo shares on how to be a great leader in times of crisis.
by Margarita Mayo, PhD in Management Psychology, Professor at IE Business School, and author of the book “Yours Truly: Staying Authentic in Leadership and Life”.
Our generation has never experienced a crisis of this magnitude and severity. Winning the war against the coronavirus will require the coordination of individual and collective efforts. In times of crisis, leaders are more necessary than ever, because they raise individual spirits and coordinate collection action. But this is no easy task.
What does effective leadership look like during the coronavirus crisis? Start with these five strategic actions:
1. Build trust by asking your team about their state of mind
Start every meeting by taking a moment to ask how your team feels about this situation. Ask about their health and the health of their families. Don’t deny the existence of problems. Ask them about the most important challenges they are facing, both professionally and personally. Recognize the most common difficulties and feelings in these situations of anxiety, uncertainty, and loneliness. Crisis situations are a chance to build bonds of trust. Compensate for social distance with a closer psychological relationship.
2. Adapt your communication style to develop resilience
Everyone reacts differently to crises. Using the same style of communication with everyone does not work. Identify the strengths of each team member and adapt your style to his or her preferences. Extroverts need more video conferencing and phone calls; introverts prefer to communicate via email. Whatever your style, the content of your communication should always focus on the positive. In the face of adversity, optimism is the best tool for developing resilience. Share words of encouragement and point towards the light at the end of the tunnel.
3. Create routines to manage stress
Stress is a natural human response to crisis situations like this one. The best way to handle stress is through good time management. It is important to establish a work routine that respects break times. Telecommuting breaks down the physical boundaries between work and family. Establish a meeting schedule with your team. Ideally, meetings should be short but frequent. Physical exercise also helps to improve performance and health. Encourage your team to incorporate home fitness training into their daily routines.
4. Keep team spirit alive so that you will emerge stronger than ever
Besides dealing with day-to-day problems, look for opportunities to improve in the future. It may seem difficult at first, but situations that put us to the test provide an opportunity to improve our coexistence. Remember your organization’s mission and values. Now more than ever, you need to make sure that every member identifies with and takes pride in the team and the organization as a whole.
5. Develop your own leadership to lead others
You won’t be able to follow these guidelines if you don’t take care of yourself. Only by feeling good about yourself can you motivate and convey confidence to others. Under normal circumstances, many of us are overworked and have little time for reflection. Take advantage of this period of confinement by engaging in introspection. Think about your personal history. Write down critical experiences that you have had over the course of your life and the lessons you learned from them. Share these anecdotes with your team. These reflections will help you get to know yourself better and become a more effective and authentic leader in the future.