Whether you're a CEO, a broker, an HR Director, or a business owner you are a leader in some form or fashion. People look to you for guidance, especially in times of crisis. The current COVID-19 crisis facing the world has forced people to change their personal and professional lives in the blink of an eye. Change often causes panic, but as a leader, it's crucial to stay calm in order to responsibly lead.
"Leaders lead by their actions and by their emotional involvement in what’s going on. In crisis situations, It’s essential that as business leaders we are at peace for ourselves. Otherwise, we add to the chaos. If we’re real leaders, this is a great time to demonstrate that by bringing peace and calm." - Dr. Tony Dale, Founder and Board Chairman for The Karis Group.
Telling someone to remain calm in the midst of chaos is one thing, but actually doing it is another. So how do you lead in the middle of a pandemic? Here are some practical steps leaders can take to bring peace and calm to their employees or members:
1. Communicating Clearly
During times of uncertainty it might seem tempting to not give the full picture to your employees or members, but this is the exact opposite of what a good leader should be doing. Honesty and transparency should always be part of your communication as a leader, especially during crisis.
"Keep your employees fully in the loop as to what’s going on, and that their health and wellbeing is at the center of what you as a leader are concerned about," said Dr. Tony.
2. Use the Resources Around You
You don't ever have to be on your own. The government has come forward to help businesses and individuals, so reach out to see how you can utilize these emergency resources. It's important to also stay informed by reading credible sources, reach out to your accountant for financial advice, and have conversations with your networks of peers to exchange ideas and advice.
Dr. Tony believes leaders shouldn't look to laying off employees as their first action in order to deal with the crisis; if anything, it should be a last resort.
"Peace and calm for a company means recognizing that our greatest asset, our team, is feeling secure in what’s going on. That means we absolutely should be looking for anything and everything we can do to make sure the home, finances, and job security is paramount in our thinking. "
But, if you do have to lay off employees, there are things you can do to give your team a softer landing.
3. Offer Affordable Healthcare Services
Even if you have to lay off or furlough employees, you can still offer them services to take some of the burden off their shoulders.
After being told they no longer have a job, the first question many employees ask is wether they and their family will still have health insurance and access to a doctor. While most leaders want to provide everything they can to employees in this situation, the current economic situation makes providing transitional coverage very difficult.
Enter Telemedicine, an easily accessible and affordable way to see a primary care physician; and as an extra bonus during the current pandemic, telemedicine also reduces the risk of spreading the virus and frees up precious space in healthcare facilities.
There are many great telemedicine providers out there, and if you don't have access to one, The Karis Group has partnered with Doctegrity to offer members a telemedicine plan for $10 a month (per family), with further discounts for groups over 500.
At the end of the day, the people who were good leaders during COVID-19 will be the ones who did everything they could to be transparent with their team and put the needs of their team first.