What Leadership Looks Like in a Time of Crisis

How do you determine a good leader? I think a worldwide pandemic like the one we are living through today, a global recession, stock market collapse is a great test of leadership. As a CEO,  every day I think about how to become a better leader. I believe that in times of crisis it is very important to not only maintain your current team, but also to bring everybody together and motivate them using the right methods if, of course, you want to actualize all of your crazy and ambitious plans in the future. Here are some of my recommendations that I would like to share with you:

1. Keep Working on Yourself 

Keep calm, restore your inner emotional and intellectual balance, “actualize” your personal goals in the new reality — find your “vision”. Be a source of positivity, confidence and inspiration for everyone else. On the one hand, regardless of the situation, a leader must be strong and confident while radiating positivity on the other. Place the current issues you are experiencing in perspective, explain how this is all temporary and continue moving forward with your team to conquer new heights. Therefore, it is very important that your team is highly motivated and feels that you are confident in your belief that the decision and actions you are making are correct and that you believe in the future of the company.

2. Be as Transparent as Possible 

It is very important that you are completely honest about what is going on, why it is happening and what you plan to do to fix the situation. At the same time, you need to be mindful of each individual’s ability to handle certain information and situations because otherwise it can cause the exact opposite effect of what you were hoping for. 

3. Show Them the Big Picture 

Pretty much everybody is in agreement that this crisis is temporary and will blow over sooner or later. That’s why you have to be farsighted and show everybody the big picture. You have to deal with your current problems and place them in a much broader context of your actions after the crisis ends. If the overall picture is bright and the future is very promising, this will act as a ray of sunshine to get you through this stormy period. 

4. Leadership and the Constant Support of Your Team

As a leader you can never take a break from your role and have to continue leading your team every day which includes listening to their feedback and finding acceptable solutions for resolving any difficult situations they find themselves in. This means that you have to be available during regular business hours and afterwards as well. Being a leader is a 24/7/365 job. Your team needs to know that you are always beside them ,even if you may be physically far away. Therefore, be sure to support your team and stay in touch with them on a regular basis beyond the daily standup meeting and other planned communications. 

5. Trust Your Intuition 

A true leader has developed a good intuition over their career. Therefore, it is always important to “feel” the situation, hear your own opinion and not forget about that intuition that has helped you overcome adversity in the past and helped you become the leader you are today. It is better to trust yourself during a crisis than to listen to various experts, training and other sources of advice. 

In addition to everything mentioned above, I also recommend that you keep in mind key factors that I have continuously managed over the course of this year’s crisis.  

Have a Business Continuity Plan in Place 

While it may seem like a no-brainer that you should have a plan in place that clearly stipulates how the company will continue working in a time of crisis, we are seeing the exact opposite. If we take a look at the UK, 49% of businesses were not properly set up to allow their staff to work remotely when the lockdown began. The study also shows that 39% of companies were not even using technology that supported remote work at all. A similar trend can be observed in EU countries and the US as well. 

In order to prevent service disruptions in the future and mitigate potential risks, you should always have a business continuity plan in place. Have a meeting with all stakeholders and key personnel to define any and all risks that can impact the company’s performance. While it is not possible to account for all risks, the business continuity plan should include potential effects of the risks on the performance of the company, implementing safeguards to help mitigate the risks, and testing your procedures to make sure they work as intended. 

Cite Reliable Information 

We live in a time when there are thousands and thousands of news sources, but unfortunately, a lot of them print incomplete, misleading, or downright false information. Recent data shows that  34% of Americans trust the news they read on social media and 25% of people believe it is the most trusted source for information about COVID-19. Needless to say, there is a lot of misinformation and fear-mongering going on various social media platforms so it would be a big mistake to use the information presented there as a basis for any decisions. 

As the lockdown measures started to be implemented here in Ukraine, we paid close attention to all of the information from the Ukrainian Health Ministry and followed their recommendations. The same is true today when quarantine measures are gradually lifted. We are constantly monitoring the latest information from government agencies and are bringing people back in accordance with their recommendations. 

Embrace Flexibility

I always hear teams like “Return to normal” or “Business as usual” being thrown around nowadays. The fact of the matter is that there was life as we knew it before the pandemic and there is post-pandemic life. When companies finally open their doors and bring people back to the office, there will be a new reality. First of all, the office-centric culture is starting to change. In fact, somewhere between 25-30% will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. We are even seeing GAFAM companies like Facebook and Google allowing some employees to permanently work from home. 

As leaders, we need to be flexible in order to adapt to the new reality. A lot of us have been hesitant to embrace the new remote work culture, but nowadays we don’t have a choice. It is up to us now to lead this transition to increase employee engagement by providing them with comfortable working conditions and always keeping an eye out for their wellbeing. Also, we have to be flexible in our willingness to change our focus and target the things that are most relevant today. This includes identifying new possible niches, different services, reformatting your service packages and many other things. All new business opportunities must be explored even this involves reorganizing the company.  

Take Care of the People Who Make It All Happen

As company leaders, our employees look at us to not only weather the storm for the company but to help them individually get through it as well. What I am most proud about Mindy Support is the way we all banded together to help each other out. We are proud of having a truly caring culture, where everyone helped to stay each other mentally and physically healthy. We managed to keep the number of people and even continued hiring new people in a time of crisis which is something very few companies in Ukraine can say. Such a level of teamwork and camaraderie is what helps Mindy Support deal with all the challenges. I believe that a good leader has to stay human first of all. 

As a Leader The Buck Stops With You

Even the best leaders experience some bumps along the way. While this is a natural process, it is important not to shift blame onto other people when things don’t go as planned. As a CEO or leader of a team, you have to take responsibility for failures,learn from your mistakes and try not to make them again in the future. This way your team will feel confident that their captain will not abandon the ship when the going gets tough. 

October 27th, 2020

Mindy News Blog