3 leadership communication strategies for challenging times
Pandemics and economic stress heating up have created the perfect storm for leaders worldwide. I've been amazed by the varied responses to this crisis situation, good and bad.
What do the best leaders do in a crisis?
Due to the world's complexity and fluidity, and the unpredictability of each event, leaders play a vital role in how their team and organisation respond to a crisis. What's more, a leader's communication style has a major influence on their team's confidence and motivation.
Here are three ways a leader can effectively handle a crisis.
1) Choose clarity over certainty
Leaders can rarely guarantee certainty. You may have a vision, a goal, or a five-year strategic plan, but much is beyond our control.
So, how do you choose clarity? It could be as simple as saying, "Here are the principles we will employ to make judgments during these unpredictable times," or "During this period, we will continually refer to our mission, vision and values to guide our decisions."
I've often seen leaders act above their authority and make promises laden with certainty, only to have to rebuild their hard-won credibility.
2) Implement multiple approaches
It is crucial to acknowledge that people receive and process information differently from each other. As a result, we must employ various communication methods if we want to reach everyone.
Some examples of formats that I have found helpful are:
· Video messaging
· Virtual town hall meetings with Q & A
· Formal listening sessions
· Written communications of various forms, including email and newsletters
How leaders communicate during times of crisis has a significant influence on their team's overall morale and motivation.
3) Strategic repetition is your best friend
Do you have a key message you want people to acknowledge, support, or identify with during these unprecedented times?
Time and time again I have learnt that if you repeatedly send out the same message, it has a considerably higher chance of resonating with people. By combining strategic, targeted and purposeful messaging in multiple formats, you can significantly impact your organisation's narrative today and in the future.
TAKEAWAY: Regardless of the challenges that arise, we know that leaders who communicate successfully with clarity, integrity, passion and empathy in as many forms as possible will have the best chance of prospering in the new normal.