Over the years we’ve had several clients claim there are “crises” going on in their businesses. These crises have included things like the loss of a major customer, a key employee leaving, or cash shortages.
Funny thing is, we (and their team) couldn’t tell by the way they responded to the so-called crisis. They’ll make any one of the following common mistakes:
1. Keeping it all to themselves: your team is there to help, let them know what’s going on. Frame the situation for your team and your proposed plan of action to resolve it. Let them know what they can do to help. Nothing creates more stress for your team than not knowing. It also generally leads to rumors spreading.
2. Disappearing: This could mean they actually leave the business either for vacation or perhaps come in late or leave early. It could also mean they hole up in their office and don’t let their team know what is going on. You need to be more visible than ever during a crisis.People should see you lead by your actions, not just hear your words that things are tough.
3. Constantly changing course: lay out a plan of attack and stick to it.
4. Giving the impression that it’s business as usual: if it’s truly a crisis, then show me by your actions. If you’ve been working 10-hour days, extend it to 12 or 14-hour days. Come in on weekends. Send your family on vacation without you. Don’t attend the kids’ soccer games.
5. Avoid conflict: this could be either internal or external conflict. The owner might avoid phone calls from upset customers and vendors or they won’t have a discussion that needs to be had with a key employee.
Just as kids aren’t apt to comply with the “do as I say, not as I do philosophy,” don’t expect your team to react any differently. If you are going along “business as usual,” then so will your team. Your team needs to see changes in how you act day-to-day or else they won’t believe it.
Are you leading by example during tough times or are you going along with business as usual?