Leaders, this is your chance to shine – you may be faced with a Goliath of a situation – but very often we find that we have a David within us – so rise and take your position.
Communication is the age-old strategy, that never gets old. So, it’s no new concept telling you that communicating during a crisis is a fundamental building block in relationship management, whether it’s with your employees or customers.
Leaders are being faced with unprecedented challenges, rapid change, whilst trying to sustain business as usual, which is no easy feat. Employees are faced with concerns over health and safety, the fear of job security or disruption of their work routines. Plus, let’s not forget that not only do we now have a day job, but we are also the official chefs, educators, landscapers, bakers, referees at times and not to mention the cleaning squad at home, I mean work.
If you haven’t already, ask yourself the following before putting your COVID-19 communication plan in place. Who do you need to communicate with? How often should you communicate? What you can proactively share with your audience?
Effective communication can only be tackled with keeping communication lines open. So, here’s a few tips for leaders to create meaningful communication, during difficult times:
Be empathetic – there is strength in empathy, expressing care for others within your communication, especially during difficult times goes a long way in building trust with your employees.
Be transparent – transparency drives confidence and decreases ambiguity. This also creates an opportunity to invite employees to voice their concerns and share their thoughts – collaboration will be key to navigating this time successfully.
Be optimistic – but not ignorant, no one yet knows how this story ends, but your communication should radiate hope and positively, even though the future may be unknown to you too, part of your job is to be a light in the darkness.
Be authentic – communicate genuinely, stick to your values & beliefs and keep your promises. It is also ok to show you are human, some vulnerability can actually break down barriers, even if it’s the story of how you decided to give yourself a haircut during lockdown, to tame your mane, but instead you gave yourself a crew-cut.
During COVID-19 communicate effectively to build trust and hope. Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!
“The art of communication is the language of leadership”. James Humes