How to Communicate with Your Employees During Times Of Crisis

These are hard times. The pandemic, its associated economic problems and political tension are all raging on with no end in sight, and now the coldest, darkest season of the year is fast approaching. If your employees are like most people, they’re feeling exhausted and stressed even when nothing specific is going wrong. At times like these, the way you communicate with your people is more important than ever. Here are some reminders:

Communicate with care. When people are working through difficult times—and especially when they’re working remotely and you can’t be in the same room to pick up on subtle cues of expression and body language—you need to communicate everything with great care. Keep in mind that people will be listening especially closely and analyzing what you say in more detail.

Don’t expect too much of people. We often ask people to reach beyond their usual role in times of crisis, and most employees are willing to go the extra mile. But remember too to be mindful of their need for balance and self-care. Don’t let the crisis become a reason to ask for nonstop overwork, but keep expectations as reasonable as possible.

Involve people in the decision-making process. People don’t want to just be told what to do; they want to know they have a say in what is happening, especially in challenging situations. Make room for wide involvement wherever you can, and make sure to let people know they matter and their ideas are valuable. When people feel they have ownership, they care more about outcomes.

Acknowledge your employees’ emotions. Take the time to seek out and listen to your employees’ perspectives and let them know they’re heard and valued. Reassure them that they’re safe in expressing their feelings, and be candid in expressing some of your own emotions to help reinforce that point. Acknowledge and validate what you hear from your people. Express understanding—and look for ways to help if you can.

Create an empowering culture. In crisis it’s especially important for people to feel they have control, and how you communicate and what you say is important. You don’t want employees to feel they’re being spoken at, so make sure they understand that they’re the authors of their actions and have the power to make choices through this time of uncertainty. Encourage self-initiation and participation; avoid controlling language and minimize coercive controls like unrealistic deadlines. Instead, find ways to motivate people through involvement, encouragement and positive feedback, Be transparent by providing the rationale behind your requests.

Communication is key in a crisis, and how you communicate as a leader can make the difference between thriving or barely surviving in these tough times.

Lead from within: It is the leader who takes the time to understand their people who people respect the most and who inspires them to give their best through times of crisis.

 


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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

One Response to “How to Communicate with Your Employees During Times Of Crisis”

  1. Adrian Baillargeon

    12. Nov, 2020

    Thanks for sharing Lolly. Some great tips.

    I think we have to be careful when it comes to “Don’t expect too much of people.” Overwork is not ideal, nor is underwork. I think the key is to be as clear as possible with expectations. If the expectations are not being met – then a curious conversation needs to be had to understand what’s interfering with the delivery.

    Perhaps this is where the empowering culture comes in, which I love your points in.

    Cheers
    Adrian

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