People look to leadership advice during uncertain times and a situation like covid-19. Moreover, when looking at uncertain times like this, a confident and calm leader is more appreciated now than ever before. Psychologists’ research points to several ways that leaders can improve their communication skills to maximize trust and minimize stress and anxiety. People look for a leader that can: manage stress, share information with empathy and optimism, use credibility to build trust, and be transparent.
All in all, transparent communication is the foundation of the company culture. Some of the company giants have stated in a recent article that they find optimism by helping each other. The sooner you move to a work from home environment, the better. If you have the infrastructure and technology in place, the transition will be smooth.
What’s the best thing you can do for your employees?
This is the best time for leaders to step up and do what’s right to protect employees. Every leader needs daily updates about the state of the marketplace. During the time of remote work, key players need to have online meetings and work the plan. Moreover, instill commercial urgency in the front line.
In the meantime, keep in touch with your customers. If you can help your most loyal customers with solutions that make the difference, you will become closer once the emergency is over.
During the emergency, leverage the purpose of your company and have leaders engage with staff frequently. Address your people’s panic and fear head-on. Be honest, be transparent, and convey that you share their concerns, but remind them that you will all get through this as one strong team.
Your financial strategy should be to preserve cash above all. Build reserves and postpone expensive projects.
CEOs should also start planning for the future after the outbreak. Although we know that the world will be different, we can not predict exact outcomes. However, you can create assumptions based on economic data and position your company. Europe and the US talk about “flattening the curve,” slowing the rate of infection instead of eliminating it. In the meantime, China is showing a V-shaped recovery. Will consumers return to their old behavior patterns such as retail shopping, going to events or will they stay online.
Depending on how long the outbreak lasts, and how severe its impact is, long-term changes are likely. Will B2B customers change their buying patterns to exclusively online purchasing? How will supply chains operate, and with what new safeguards? No one knows what the future holds, but companies can keep aksing critical long questions.
Our advice to you is to keep your employees safe in work from home environment. The one clear thing is that without employees, you don’t have a company. That said, keep your employees and your company safe during a covid-19 crisis.
The key to managing uncertainty is adequate preparation and writing a comprehensive continuity plan. The company should get ready to react quickly as the economy changes. That alone makes a big difference for growth-stage companies. Done right, a company can prosper and even emerge stronger. According to Pitchbook, the point is to ensure self-sustainability if future capital raises don’t come to fruition.
Moreover, transparency is incredibly important to your employees. Well-prepared companies can potentially thrive in a downturn. For one, they can be more aggressive in acquiring struggling assets at a lower price and applying their own successful experience to transform those businesses. The opportunity for better-prepared organizations to take market share from struggling competitors is another means of strengthening a company’s position during a downturn.
In the end, don’t wait to take the necessary steps to overcome the crisis. Once this is over, you might become stronger and more prepared for the future. True leaders will learn from this and keep working together with their employees, even after the emergency time is over.