4 Ways to Lead During a Crisis

July 14th, 2020

Remote work is about a lot more than working remotely. In the Remote Work Bootcamp in the Josh Bersin Academy, we dive into what remote work and the uncertainty of these times mean for our organizations, HR teams, and individual employees. Here’s an excerpt from that Program.

One way we cultivate resilience in uncertain times is to lean into our communities. As you and your organization continue to transition, new communities will form and leaders will arise in every direction. No matter your role on your HR team or your organization as a whole, if you feel the pull to lead, don’t resist. Your team needs you. Your position on an org chart, your salary level, your formal levels of authority—all of that matters much less now than your ability to inspire, connect, and solve complex problems.

As you see this happening around you—in your HR teams and across the organization—help encourage it by recognizing and amplifying it. That kind of encouragement from the people hub of the organization will go a long way in empowering others to take up informal leadership roles, too.

Here are four ways you can help lead through this moment:

Focus on What Matters: The coronavirus outbreak is an information crisis on steroids. It is incredibly easy for everyone to get distracted and confused about what to do next. Leaders counteract that confusion by focusing on what matters most. Check in with your colleagues about their basic needs both in and out of work. Are they getting enough sleep and down time? Do they know what work to focus on? What about you—are you able to focus on what matters most?

No Way Out But Forward: A crisis can help us discover strengths and resources we didn’t know we had. You may lead by helping discover, nurture, and amplify your colleagues’ strengths. Or you may be the one who can keep calm and help others stay calm amidst growing uncertainty. By staying calm and focused, you may help unlock extraordinary levels of achievement.

Hold the Center: Panics move in waves of under-reaction, followed by over-reaction. Crucially, strong leaders hold the center in both cases. Rally the team before they think it’s necessary. Calm their fears once the realization of crisis hits. Holding the center is not easy, but there are strategies you can learn.

Keep Hope Alive: Covid-19 is scary. The global recession it has ignited is scary. Nothing like this has happened in our life times. There are and will be no easy answers for a long time. But you can lead by being hopeful anyway. Keep the light of optimism alive and burning in your team. Rally the community around you to come together and look straight into the fear, the panic, the uncertainty and say, “No. Not today. Today, I feel hopeful.”

To dive deeper into remote work and its implications for HR professionals, join us for our next session of the Remote Work Bootcamp in the Josh Bersin Academy, which starts July 15.