How To Lead Your Team Through Adversity and Crisis

Leading Your Team Through Adversity

We all know that obstacles and adversity are key elements to growth and, ultimately, success. But, when you’re inside an unforeseen and extremely challenging situation, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, it can be hard to see a clear path. Uncertainty makes us uncomfortable and increases our anxiety as well as that of our employees. The good news is you don’t have to have a crystal ball or all the answers to steer your organization through a difficult time. 

So, what can we do to reassure and protect our employees during a crisis? Here are our top tips for leading your team through adversity with resilience, communication and vulnerability. 

Top 3 Tips for Leading A Resilient Team

1. Pivot

When everything changes, your strategy needs to reflect that. Take a step back and consider or reassess what your primary objectives are during this immediate crisis and set a plan to achieve them, even if it means putting other objectives aside.

A Business Continuity Plan will help you assign clear roles to your team and handle the immediate action items of adjusting. In preparation for COVID-19, this meant activating Vector’s emergency response team, moving to a remote work environment, installing new security measures, and establishing channels for timely and accurate communication. Because of this plan, we were able to move quickly to a remote working scenario and utilize cloud-based technology to ensure we were operating effectively.

Change is hard, and when you’ve been working for months on important strategic projects, setting them aside during this time can be daunting. It’s critical to remain agile and be able to determine and execute towards your new primary objective.

2. Communicate and Connect

Around here, communication is key – when in doubt, over-communicate!

Here are some of the ways we are keeping communication and connection alive at Vector Solutions during COVID-19:

  • Holding bi-weekly town hall-style video calls. During these calls, our executive team provides updates to the entire team and answers questions.
  • Increasing the volume of email and recorded video communication from leadership to keep the workforce informed and feeling connected and included in this ever-changing situation.
  • Encouraging video calls to help remote employees get face time with each other and leadership.
  • Focusing on tone to balance reassurance and optimism with realism. This means reevaluating existing communication plans and shifting to a plan that will give your workforce and clients a clear picture of how your organization is handling this crisis
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3. Leverage Your Culture

You work to create a strong, vibrant company culture is not lost in times like these – in fact, times like these are why you need an inclusive, resilient culture. By creating a culture of grit and resilience, you’re positioning your workers for success and giving them the tools they need during an uncertain time. 

One way to do this is to ensure your workforce knows that there will be an “after.” In unprecedented times, like these, it’s easy to fall victim to the belief that this will never end, or that the aftermath will last forever. This isn’t true, and the optimism that comes with knowing we will get to the other side can help your teams stay motivated. Remind them what that future looks like – and that you’ll get there together.

Another tip is to focus on the opportunities. We have instantly and temporarily lost so much that was recognizable about our former working lives. So what can we do? If, as a company, you prioritize training and development (and you should!) you can encourage team members (and customers) to participate in existing or new training opportunities, turning the focus to future growth instead of dwelling on the uncertainty of the present. At Vector, in addition to creating our free Coronavirus Resource Center for our team members and communities, we are providing complimentary training and solutions to our customers – EMS refresher skills and training for first responders and law enforcement agencies, professional development courses for casino employees, and tools for frontline workers. Continuing to focus on opportunities, both for your team members and your customers, helps to keep alive that pride in your company culture and mission.

Leading your teams from a place of vulnerability, openness, and gratitude ensure they’ll still want to be serving alongside you after this crisis has passed.

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These are uncharted waters, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be navigated if you have a strong sense of what’s right for your organization, the ability to be flexible in a rapidly changing scenario, and the power to communicate effectively with your teams. We’re here with solutions and resources, like our Coronavirus Resource Center, to help guide you to continued success.