Rebuilding Your Team’s Confidence after Crisis
The business is at a standstill, the economic crisis will continue for more months, and the hard work of rebuilding has yet to start. In the next phase, you will need to rebuild your team’s confidence, using all your leadership skills on the leadership team and managers to win their trust, active support, and willingness to take up their responsibility in rebuilding the business.
First, consider their emotional state and how the coronavirus pandemic or other risks have impacted their wellbeing, their emotional state, and loyalty to you personally?
Secondly, Did you have an excellent working relationship before the crisis? Do you fully understand them, and have you bothered to try? Without such emotional insights, you may be disappointed when they lack the vigor and motivation to back your business rebuilding strategy over the next ear.
Thirdly, if you are a dominant leader with strongly held beliefs about how your business operates, what have you learned from the past few months if you have been shaken by the crisis and fear for the future, how likely are they to speak up if they fear you and fear for their futures if they get on the wrong side of your arguments? The return to work plan and preparation for the future will require every single one of your colleagues speaking openly, speaking up and speaking confidently when they express their concerns and ideas.
Your Communication style matters in a crisis
Communication is a two-way route, someone has to talk and someone has to listen for a message to be passed across. Is your mindset on listening to refute their point of view or listening to learn?
Will you hear them openly and without prejudice?
When mentoring others and having to raise difficult challenges on behaviors, personal interactions, and how they come across in their treatment of others, many leaders can become defensive, rapidly changing their body language and shortening their responses. No one likes a mirror held up to their face to examine their inner self. It is challenging and can be painful, but ultimately it can be highly rewarding and beneficial in future interactions. Take the time now to reflect. Consider your past leadership styles and practices and the impact it had on your colleagues. You have an opportunity now to rebuild relationships and leadership practices to get the best out of them, at the very time you need their heart and souls supporting the business.
Rebuilding team confidence
Your focus now is on rebuilding the team’s confidence after the crisis, concentrating on how to bring out the best in your team. You will your teams’ ideas, enthusiasm, and dedication to survive. Providing an open safe forum for the debates ahead will benefit both you and your colleagues. It will hopefully result in scenarios, questions, and ways forward that will challenge your fixed views as you move into the new ‘normal.’ A relaxed communication forum will provide opportunities for innovation, ways to discard previous inefficiencies and strengthen organizational outcomes.
For your direct reports, it helps create a psychologically safe workplace within which to promote and act boldness. As importantly, your teams are probably eager to return to work, embrace the future rather than fear the past, and present some of the ideas they may have evolved while homeworking. Your temptation to revert to poor leadership and communication practices that hold back innovation and progress through the legitimate fear of colleagues that they will be embarrassed verbally shot down and ultimately demoralized if they venture forth an opinion.
You have been given a rare gift in business through the COVID-19 crisis ….TIME! The time to think; the time for personal reflection, and the time to act as a leader and as a responsible individual. Use this period to reflect on past performances! It would be a mistake now to hang onto or revert to a leadership style that hadn’t served you well in the past.
Become an Authentic leader
What I am seeking to promote and advocating for are some of the primary (but difficult) tenets of authentic leadership – transparency, openness, and frankness. These are particularly important in times of crisis when teams need to come together and confidence upheld. Being open and transparent over the issues faced, speaking humbly about the doubts you hold, and meeting your fears and concerns and making clear to all that now is the time for all who care about the business’s survival to ask penetrating, focussed, and strategically minded questions.
Consider Leadership Coaching & Mentoring
If you are uncomfortable about speaking personally about your feelings, or if you are the top dog within a family-business where personal power and hierarchies are essential, this can be difficult. In these circumstances working with a leadership coach on your communication styles may be beneficial, similarly organizing a facilitated discussion with a sustainability business resilience professional may help you formulate a robust future strategy that all have signed up to.
The past was yesterday’s business lesson. The future is still uncertain, but now is the time to start taking those first steps forward.