What Leadership Sounds Like in a Crisis
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People find purpose and meaning when they understand why the tasks are important and what they mean to their identity. Identity leaders provide that to people through their communication.
External voices you hear on the television and social channels that sew fear and doubt as well as disempowering people can become internal voices if you let them.
The leader's voice has to drown out the negative and disempowering voices and communicate the idea that you can act and will succeed. It is the antidote to the external factors that want you to give up and accept your fate.
A critical task of a leader is communication. It is better to err on the side of communicating more frequently than under-communicating because leaders thought everyone knows what is expected of them. During a crisis, under-communicating can be disastrous.
The content of the communication is equally important.
Fear causes people to freeze, take flight, or fight. It's not that leaders aren't afraid, but that they fear the greater danger of doing nothing.
Leaders speak to the real danger, that of leaving the threat unaddressed and unopposed. Courage means taking action and confronting the challenge directly, giving others the courage to do the same.
Leadership sets a vision of a better future state by communicating continuously. The communication provides an action plan, stating what must be done, how it must be done, and when it must be completed.
Communication that is action-oriented provides direction and help push back against the obstacles confronting your team.
The voice of leadership, while not ignoring genuine threats, should sound positive and optimistic, believing you will succeed despite obstacles.
A cause is only lost when you believe it is, and even then, only when you give up. The task of leadership is to persevere until you achieve your goal, regardless of the difficulty. Communicate your optimism and transmit those beliefs to your team.
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