How I Became A Better Leader In Times Of Crisis
dateMay 21st, 2020
When we sat down at the end of 2019 and did our 2020 planning, I can promise you we weren’t talking about a possible Global Pandemic. Covid-19 has shaken the lives of every human and industry and one of the largest setbacks is not knowing what is to come or how to prepare for it. We don’t know what this is going to look like on the other side, but what we do know is that we’re here now, and as a company we have already weathered some pretty huge storms.
Looking Back – Look for Opportunities
Just after the five-year anniversary of Faulhaber Communications, we were met with the 2008 recession. And although the majority of it felt like a low point, it turned out that that it was actually the most positive thing that ever happened. Large brands were looking to cut costs and downsize, and we benefited. We doubled our business during that time and that’s because we used the time to nurture relationships and look for opportunities. And that’s exactly what we have to do now, because at the end of the day if you aren’t looking for ways to offer value to your clients, you don’t have a purpose. And the same goes for being a leader. During a crisis, you have to look for additional ways to add value to your team whether that be swiftly implementing new processes or playing more of an emotionally supportive role.
Trust & Awareness
Here are a few of the ways I have grown as a leader during this time:
- Vulnerability has made me lean into patience and empathy, which are not usually my natural reactions, and I make extra efforts to demonstrate love and build trust within my team.
- Due to the tense atmosphere that comes with 100% remote communications, I spend more time composing and editing my replies to ensure my tone is properly communicated over email. I’m hoping that taking this extra second to increase the level of sensitivity and polish will make the reader feel more respected.
- I’m forming tighter relationships with my team and clients because I see them in their natural habitat (read basement/bedroom/bedhead) every day. Watercooler chatter turned into eye-to-eye conversations that start with “how are you feeling” allow us all to discuss our personal lives more openly.
- The disruption of my normal schedule gives me the opportunity to spend more time mentoring, something that myself and other senior members of the team will continue to make a priority even when things go back to “normal”. Our new FConsults service is a great result.
- Certain brainstorms that were once reserved for the senior team members have been opened up to the whole FSQUAD. Including the wider team sparked amazing new business ideas and built trust.
- I make team culture a huge priority. We have a virtual touch base every morning and instead of jumping into the to-do lists of that day, we start with more personal questions and have an open dialogue where anyone can contribute. We also indulged in video chat team lunches, shared beauty tips and Virtual Bar Carts.
- One of the FAULHABER values is “customized approach” which means that no client receives the same solution. Everything we do is uniquely catered to provide them with the best result. Navigating in a crisis requires a customized approach more than ever. We had to think of new ways of supporting our clients and shift almost all of our thinking digitally. This also requires me to step up my technology game and learning about all the different apps that allow us to connect with people all over the world.
- I focus more of my energy on my relationships. Building relationships is more important than ever right now. Almost everyone can use extra help and support and on the other side of this trying time everyone will remember who lifted them up.