Industry Update
Opinion Article30 March 2020

How to Lead a Team During Periods of Crisis and Uncertainty

By Prince A. Sanders, Managing Director at Park Lane Hotel New York

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There's always a given amount of uncertainty leaders have to deal with on any given day, month, or year. However, these levels of uncertainty are being pushed higher than ever due to the impacts of our current health crisis. During times of stress, we tend to look to our leaders for guidance and reassurance. So, if you're leading a group of people, here's what you can do to help your team members navigate through this time of uncertainty.

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Take into consideration what is known and unknown. Take a moment and think logically about your situation. By making a list of what you know and don't know about a crisis can help empower you and your team. Creating both lists allows you to act appropriately and prevents everyone involved from becoming stuck in "analysis paralysis."

Remain calm. Your actions and emotions will radiate to your team, whether you realize it or not. Make sure to be mindful of what you are saying and acknowledge the current situation and any fears surrounding it. Make sure to stay positive and keep your team focused on any current projects or tasks that need to be finished.

Be open and honest. Always give your team members honest answers. It is essential to be transparent. There may be confidential information that you will not be able to share. If someone asks about information that can't be shared, listen to their questions, remain positive, and be honest in telling them, "I am not authorized to share the information at this time." Honesty during uncertain times is appreciated and helps to maintain trust.

Communicate all important information. Keep your team in the loop with all necessary updates/information pertaining to day-to-day operations. One excellent way to do this is through regular meetings. Meetings offer an opportunity to share any insights you or other leaders in the organization may have. You'll be able to communicate necessary information and engage with your team members. Take some time to talk with your team members about what's concerning them. I recommend spending less time in an office and more time within the various departments. Never forget that as a leader, you are a symbol. A symbol of reassurance, comfort, and, most importantly, hope. Let your strength and confidence be seen.According to Forbes, it gives you great insight into "how the uncertainty may be disrupting performance, attitudes, etc." Letting your team members know that you're there for them keeps everyone focused.

Focus on what you can control. There are going to be aspects of any crisis that you can't control. Remember that only YOU can control your reaction to a situation. Constantly worrying about the uncontrollable lowers productivity levels, morale, and overall success.

No matter what happens during this time, it's important to remember that it will pass. How you lead your team is not only a reflection of you but also your organization as a whole. Use this time as an opportunity to improve your leadership by helping others.

There are many uncertainties we are facing today, but there are a few things we can rely upon. As a country, we are strong, as a community, we are stronger, and as a people, we can overcome any obstacle. Be positive, be strong, and be well.

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