Business owners can plan for success years in advance, but that doesn’t guarantee everything will go smoothly. Sometimes emergencies or unexpected events derail everyone and make the future uncertain. Read these six crisis management tips for leading employees through a crisis to become a leader everyone can look up to even when you’re as unsettled as your team members.
1. Communicate to Everyone
Fear becomes intensified when a scared person feels alone. Employees working from home could deal with greater panic about their position with your company if they don’t receive the same updates as everyone who works in the same office. The first step in addressing a crisis is keeping everyone on the same page through inclusive communication.
Schedule an all-hands company meeting if your employees are in one location, or invite everyone to a virtual conference, or maybe send a mass email to address a current challenge. The transparency will settle everyone into a calm state where it’s easier to listen and plan together.
2. Present Accurate Information
People don’t have control over world events that impact their businesses. An international trade war might spike production costs and increase prices on consumer goods, leading to fewer people buying your products or services. When events like these hurt your company, crisis management is required and you must present the most accurate information to your team as often as possible.
Ongoing situations require frequent updates so every employee knows you have a plan to get back on track. It’s the essential foundation for keeping their trust. Present accurate information by spotting confirmation bias headlines and avoiding articles that rely on implicit bias. When leaders give factual information to people needing guidance, they respond more positively because there’s no hidden agenda.
3. Show Interest by Listening
Even if you’re in panic mode along with your employees, they’re looking to you for direction. If you demonstrate a calm demeanor and a listening ear, they’ll trust that you can get them through any crisis.
Show how you listen by repeating what they say and offering related advice. When team members can speak their minds in private conversations with you, you’ll calm everyone by working together through whatever challenges lie ahead.
4. Present Your Potential Responses
Employees will inevitably disagree with some of your ideas. They may not voice their concerns, but there are still ways to address them. Present your preferred plan of action during a crisis, but list backup options as well. Your team can vote on how they prefer to move forward or get peace of mind from knowing their leader has secondary plans if something else goes wrong.
5. Stay Available to Everyone
When a great leader communicates effectively, makes everyone feel included, and provides an actionable response plan, employees know they’re in good hands. That feeling disappears if people suddenly can’t reach them. It looks like running from a problem instead of facing it, so ensure that you stay available to everyone.
Whether through emails, phone calls, or meetings, spending personal time listening to your employees will keep everyone in line until the crisis ends. When that’s not possible, always mention when you can get back to them so they know you’re not going anywhere.
6. Provide Ongoing Resources
Crisis resources are different for each situation. A national or international crisis will require frequent updates from leading news sources and public officials responsible for the response. Something that only affects your company will require internal crisis management resources.
Business owners should make a crisis response plan for the most likely scenarios so everyone can reflect on them if the events occur. An effective plan assigns responsibilities and roles for crisis communications. Everyone should know where to evacuate or who will be in charge in emergencies.
Think about potential crises like fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and data breaches to determine which will most likely affect your company. Your employees will become safer and calmer when they have resources for any emergency.
Expertly Lead Employees Through a Crisis
The best business owners know how to handle the unexpected with effective crisis management. Use these tips for leading employees through a crisis to feel more confident about responding to any situation. Communication, availability, and written resources are just a few ways to give everyone peace of mind even in the most uncertain times.