How Serving Leaders Respond to Crises
COVID-19 has presented all of us with challenges never before experienced by those presently alive on the planet. These are difficult days; many small businesses are struggling to survive. But, with great crises also come great opportunities. There IS hope for all of us. There IS light at the other end of the COVID-19 tunnel. But only those who see and respond can have great influence!
I propose three responses for serving leaders to have great influence during this time:
If there ever was a time to be empathetic and relatable, it is now. Convey hope to your people. Be understanding of their plight without focusing on your own. Share your feelings—yes—but only in light of how you can relate to their present pain. If you own a business and currently have margin, now is the time to cut your salary and model sacrificial giving in time, energy, and resources. If you have to lay off employees, part of your cut could be shared with those who now have no source of income. Ultimately, now is the time to compassionately address urgent needs, maintaining a focus on your people and your ultimate mission.
I’ve heard it said that speaking with clarity is an act of kindness. We need to be clear about our vision and outline flexible plans to navigate through the crisis. That means sharing what we do know and also what we don’t know. It means clearly stating problems that we are anticipating along with reasons why we are hopeful in overcoming them. Speak courageously about the future while avoiding certainty on outcomes. Speaking with certainty is not kind, and furthermore, nothing is absolutely certain. Choose clarity over certainty, every time!
One article I recently read projects that, “Goods and people will move less often and less freely across national and regional borders. Countries will retreat into themselves, borders will become less porous, and international trade will slump. To bolster their ability to survive extended periods of economic self-isolation, governments will push to strengthen domestic manufacturing capacity and step in to inject adequate redundancy in critical supply chains. Even before the pandemic struck, higher wages in China, international trade wars, and the rise of semi-autonomous factories had already prompted firms to reshore manufacturing, bringing it closer to domestic research and development centers. The coronavirus crisis will accelerate this trend: Increasingly, corporations will favor the resiliency of centralized domestic supply chains over the efficiency of globalized ones.” So brainstorm with your team about opportunities to launch new products and services. Restructure your systems to ensure the safety and well-being of your people. Prioritize your people by offering them new opportunities for personal development. This crisis IS your catalyst for new ideas, growth, and character development—don’t waste it!
Click here for a one-page brief sheet that outlines these points along with some practical tips on how to make the most of this crisis.