LEADING THROUGH UNCERTAIN TIMES

By: Mayme Doumbia| 28 March 2020 | Leadership, Coaching and influencing Change

In times of crisis, people always look up to their leaders for guidance and directions. The leader's first actions are critical to establishing trust and assurance among his/her people.

The current pandemic is not the first crisis we’ve had, however, it is the first of it’s kind and should not be taken lightly. The virus has introduced us to challenges our generation has never faced before. Which makes this the perfect time for leaders to rise up and LEAD.

Crisis are chaotic and can lead to panic. Leaders prepare contingencies for a crisis but understand that not every circumstance can be controlled. Therefore, they stay attentive and flexible enough to move with the current state of things. With all the tension, confusion and chaos, a leader's response is vital for keeping order.

Be the leader

Crisis reveals a leader’s character, how you react and lead your people speaks volumes towards your skills and indicates your readiness to lead. The people who follow you are waiting for you to take charge and reassure them that everything will be alright. As a leader, you may not know how to deal with the situation, but your reaction can make a great deal of difference.

Be knowledgeable

Stay informed and avoid following the crowd, people listen and follow wise leaders. Obtain information from reliable sources and educate yourself to boost your credibility. Do not add to the spread of panic and false information. There are reliable sources that can be utilized to help you stay informed such as CDC (Central for Disease Control and Prevention), WHO (World Health Organization) etc..

Be present

Though distance may be a current factor that separates you from your team, its important to find ways to stay connected with them. There are various software in our generations today that can be utilized to stay connected such as zoom, skype, or conference lines. Those who depend on your leadership may need reassurance and guidance through these rough times.

Be authentic

It’s ok to not be ok! it’s also ok not to have all the answers you seek at this time. People don’t follow you just so you can solve their problems, they follow you because you inspire them. Be honest with your team about what’s going on and the effects and challenges ahead, they will respect you more for it. Avoid giving them false hope and keep a clear line of communication.

Be ready to serve

Leaders are experienced servants. Think of ways to be helpful by aiding those in need such as elderly who may be unable to shop for themselves. Or tutoring young people out of school. Be a source that people can depend on. This is your time to step up!

Be an example

According to Israelmore Ayivor “Leadership crisis erupts when people who have not learned how to obey instructions are given the privilege to give commands.” This is a tragedy and everyone is impacted in one way or another. In order to lead by example, do your part in mitigating infection by listening to the authority of those who have more knowledge about the virus than you. Follow instructions:

Stay home.
Wash your hands.
Don’t go to the ER unless it’s an absolute emergency.

Don't forget to thank a friend or family member in the line of duty fighting the virus by sending them a message to tell them you’re thinking of them.

Remember, a leader sees an opportunity in every crisis. Look for ways to make the most of your circumstances. Continue to make change in your life to adapt "work on projects at home, make sure you’re catching up on assignments or finish up a book you’ve been meaning to read or write." Don’t fall into the trap of feeling sorry for yourself, seize this tragedy as an opportunity to grow.



How are you leading through the current crisis? Let us know in the comments below.