Leading in a crisis is never easy. At InspireHUB, we've been operating as a 100% remote team for seven years, an experience that has allowed us to shape a company culture and set of empathy-based practices that make communicating and building trust with disparate people with diverse needs across multiple time zones easier.
Still, no amount of practice prepares you for the very human challenges of a pandemic. People are stressed and afraid. They’re suffering losses and dealing with uncertainty. When people are compromised, communicating with empathy and compassion is more important than ever. The most important part of your business continuity plan is the wellness of your people.
Whether the crisis you’re facing is COVID-19 or some other challenging situation, there are 3 powerful choices that will help you create a culture of care and provide effective leadership to clients and employees:
3 communication tips that will help you provide effective crisis leadership
1) Think before you speak, and think about how you speak.
As IT leaders at InspireHUB, we are experienced in dealing with high-pressure stakes. Navigating outages that can place business at risk is something that comes with the job. Mature leaders quickly discover that speaking calmly and measured will help their team find the solution quicker than the alternative.
2) Deal in facts, not opinions.
As humans, it's easy to want to generalize, but it's a dangerous game. There's a reason in the hospital they ask patients to score their pain on a rank of 1 to 10. Not everyone has the same tolerance.The same holds true in difficult times. Communicating with numbers is far more helpful than just words. For example: saying we are 60% sure this will be an issue is different from saying we are fairly certain.
3) Disagree? Ask a question instead of making a statement.
It's easy to draw conclusions, but it's also the surest way to shut down a conversation. If you disagree with something, a great question to ask before offering an opinion is this: "Interesting., I don't know if I see it that way? Can you expand a bit more?" Often that is enough to gain some information that will help you clarify, and if it doesn't, the other person will feel better situated to listen to the alternative.
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As the Coronavirus has spread around the world, businesses are requiring employees to work from home and grappling with the practical implications of suddenly needing to manage a distributed workforce.
InspireHUB is a 100% remote company and has been managing an international staff of digital nomads for over seven years. As the creator of the IHUBApp Digital Experience Platform, we also have had agencies and clients use our platform to build employee hubs to help improve their connection and engagement.
From this unique vantage point, we decided to share the internal guidelines and tips that have helped us become high-performers and produce at the award-winning level with the hopes of you making the most of the situation.
It's one thing to make policies that put people first in company culture. It's another thing entirely to model them. But being part of a corporate social experiment designed to prove that putting the bottom line and people first are not competing ideals? Better buckle up!
Getting beyond lip-service often means a lot of falling down and getting things wrong before you find your groove. Our Founder, Karolyn Hart, jokes about our being "UnInspireHUB" while we fumbled through the transition from a more traditional workplace to the 100% remote -- and empowered -- workplace we have now. She's bent on disrupting some of the most toxic foundations of corporate culture, starting with ours.
Something funny happens when you treat people like capable adults. They tend to rise to the occasion, and so does your ROI.