You May Have To Pass, You May Have To Run or You Might Just Get Sacked
Lessons In Leadership During A Crisis
Last night, the Kansas City vs. Buffalo football game was an excellent metaphor for business leaders’ strategies to manage a crisis. Both of the Quarterbacks on the field — Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen, have exceptional skills for reading the play in front of them and adjusting as needed.
I loved watching Josh Allen’s gestures as he had the football in his hands, looking for a receiver and then seeing a giant hole open up in front of him and deciding to run.
Leadership is like that, right? — Everything’s coming at you and, just like Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, or any of your other favorite Quarterbacks, you need to decide “what is the best thing to do?”
The ability to lead during a crisis can be difficult due to needing to have an acute awareness of the different organizational, logistical, and staffing perspectives that can take place during a pandemic, hurricane, or another traumatic event.
The number #1 habit executives need to have right now involves consistency, congruence, and agile adaptation.
Consistency: being consistent helps foster calm within your organization. At a change of shift in healthcare, physicians, nurses, and other professionals report to the oncoming shift about their challenges and care updates for the patients in their department. It’s a way that teams set each other up for success by communicating and working collaboratively and in a manner that fosters top-notch care for patients and families.
Additionally, in organizations across the country, leaders can keep their teams informed of the changes that need to occur or how they can adapt to the ever-changing workplace. From the COVID-19 pandemic, we have already seen significant changes that have consisted of changes within organizations to working from home, adjusting to the addition of personal protective equipment, and providing COVID-19 vaccines, screenings, and tests for your team. Additional challenges have included adjustments within your business, adapting to state, federal, and industrial changes that are taking place, and (in many cases) closing some of your business offices, hiring new staff, or altering your business practices.
These changes are usually accompanied by the critical conversations that need to occur within your executive leadership team and your staff.
Congruence: Whenever a stressful event occurs, it’s not uncommon for your first response to be, “it’s okay, we’ll handle it, everything will be fine” (even if you don’t know this for sure). It tends to be our natural first response for the people and teams closest to us — we care about them, so we want them to be okay.
The challenge is that when you have an abundance of stress coming from all angles, it’s best to approach these conversations honestly and authentically. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, this conversation is not easy to navigate because there are several unknowns. When will the illness be contained? How will your business continue to adapt? How many staff do you need to retain? Where are the best locations for them to work, and how do you present this information to them knowing that they have already had difficult conversations with their family and friends.
Congruence is about having the conversation with the words, tone, expressions, and compassion necessary to match the conversation you need to have with your team. It’s reading the play. It’s not telling them that everything will be okay if it isn’t. If you are not sure how your business will adapt, take the time to express your uncertainty appropriately. Conversations like these are not easy, but the more congruent and honest you are with your team, the more they will appreciate you for being upfront with them.
Agile Adaptation: Leaders may have the strategy they need to move their business forward; they may also have an executable plan. But what happens when they find themselves with the football and within seconds a large space opens up in front of them, revealing a clear path to the first down line?
S.A. Leys a Consultant and Coach at Coaching For Healthcare Teams (www.CFHT.io). We coach and consult with the healthcare professionals and teams who care for all of us. Can we help you? Visit us on the web at CFHT.io and download our free E-book “5 Tips To Navigate Your Stressful Healthcare Career”. Thank you
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