After another wasted hour of watching Donald Trump mumble and bluster through another press conference, I decided we need to look at what leadership should be like during this time.
Now more than ever, employees are looking for leadership and things that are familiar, reliable and consistent. Citizens, communities and employees are looking for guidance and leadership to help help them get through this period.
While each company is different and their needs are different, there are universal needs that employees look for in a leader during uncertain times. We look at four key things that every employee looks for in a good leader.
The ability to show compassion
Being a compassionate leader means showing that you care about the well-being of your employees. As a leader, it’s essential to acknowledge that these are uncertain times with unknown challenges, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even the simple act of admitting this is a crucial part of being a leader.
Sometimes compassion and leadership means showing vulnerability and acknowledging the struggle. Being able to show your employees that you are facing difficult times as well is a good way to showing them you understand their concerns during this period.
However, discussion, engaging and communication is only one part of the whole package. If possible, try to take action and show your staff what you can do. Some suggestions include:
- Providing childcare support both monetarily and leave
- Meal expensing
- Directly supporting someone who is going through difficulties
- Providing flexible workloads for those struggling to cope with the changes
The value of trusting your leader or boss during this period cannot be overstated. Empty promises or vagueness can lead to an uncertain workforce that worries about their future.
As mentioned before, extreme circumstances calls for extreme measures. Here are some suggestions that can help your employees know that they can trust their leadership group.
- Always follow through – if you say you are going to promote someone or provide benefits, follow through on that promise
- Communicate and be open during this period, as employees need to hear from you
- Create a clear communication channel when it comes to projects and work, so that employees have clarity and certainty in their work
Steady and stable
Last Thursday’s release from the Department of Labor reported 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment in the preceding week, and that number likely skewed lower than reality because many people had difficulties applying. With so many things up in the air, employees want to work for organizations and leaders that can provide stability. While this might not be something you can realistically provide, the communication around this message is crucial. To provide more stability, try:
- Making your presence known during high-level conversations and sharing any firsthand information directly with your team
- Standing up for your team and their hard work whenever, and to whomever, you can
- Identifying alternative projects or assignments that they might be able to support with
Inspiring and hopeful
Being hopeful and inspiring DOES NOT mean inspiration quotes and sending articles about motivation. I just had flashbacks about previous bosses I had. What your staff needs is someone who inspires them and provides realistic hope that can help allay some of their fears.
If you are working from home right now, which is quite likely, it is important that your team knows that you’re there for them. Somethings that can do quite easily are:
- Thanking your team for delivering under the current situation
- Acknowledging and celebrating special occasions for the team, even if it is just virtual
- Doing regular sharing sessions to showcase things that are going well or improving
Each startup is going through different challenges and this can be one of the most difficult times you will ever face, however remember that your staff are going through difficult times as well. The true test of leadership comes during the dark times, so maybe it is time to put your money where your mouth is and get it done.