Today in the current climate of the world, several countries are on lockdown, social distancing is paramount, and quarantine doesn’t seem have an end in sight.
As challenging as these times are, it is providing most of us with a very unique opportunity to lead ourselves and our families, without distraction and external obligation.
During times like these, where there’s uncertainty, fear, and grief; being able to express and model leadership will have a profound lasting effect on those impressionable eyes that are watching.
Growing up with my dad as a police officer and mom as a nurse, and both of them serving in the military, I was once that child watching how my parents responded. Those lessons, along with over a decade of military experience , have shaped me into a better speaker, leader, mother and wife.
“The difference between management and leadership is communication”
I have always felt reassured by leaders who are transparent during times of uncertainty. When shit hits the fan, those who are caught in the storm don’t need to hear excuses, theories or BS in general. What is necessary are the facts and a game plan.
Transparency in communication means communicating facts, not assumptions, or opinions.
Especially during trying times, it’s wise to be open to listening to and acknowledging concerns. This is fundamental in establishing trust as a leader and communicator. In responding, I always fall back on my ABC’s
Be as accurate as you can about the information you are aware of.
Be brief, but honest. Don’t let yourself or your team become distracted or absorbed by unnecessary details.
Clarify information if needed.
It is acceptable that you may not have all the answers. However, it is NOT acceptable to lie or give false answers to unknown situations. This will only discredit you as a leader.
Set a clear foundation of what your values are. Whatever values are true to you and the way you intend to lead yourself, your family, and your business, should be transparent.
This grounds individual decision making; having knowledge of values set in place removes confusion and adds a feeling of sense and purpose.
For a family those values might be ; quality time, teamwork, helpfulness, and love.
Maybe in business values are community, efficiency, innovation, and resourcefulness.
Whatever your values are, (and they can change and adapt) make sure they are communicated.
Once the intent is in place, you may have expectations to voice. These can be what you expect of your team, and what your team can expect from you.
Going back to values in a family scenario, with quality time as a value, you may implement ‘no screen time’ family dinners, daddy daughter date nights, or learning a new hobby together.
In a business scenario, how you implement your values is what is going to strengthen your business culture. With strong communication of values and intent given to fellow leaders and team member you can assure that the message/mission can be executed regardless of ever changing situations, or obstacles
Lastly, practice using a calm ,confident voice and compassionate tone in your communication.
A tip for remaining calm is to focus on your breath.
Box breathing is a great tool taught to most first responders.
Breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts and hold for 4 counts.
Before addressing a crisis situation and giving guidance, calm your breath and nerves as much as you can.
People will remember how you made them feel, and if you are panicked, they will be to. Do not allow your emotions to overpower your words.
Principle: Transparent Communication is clear communication of the facts, values, intent and expectation. If this is done calmly and in rapid response to a crisis, it will increase trust in any relationship.
During calm or crisis, a foundation of trust and integrity within your family, teams, or organization will help develop resiliency and growth through every challenge.