How Should Leaders Communicate in Times of Crisis?

· Leadership,Communication,Crisis Management

Over the last few days, leaders - across many levels of industry, and government - have faced some really difficult tests.

How do I deal with news of a Corona Virus outbreak in our area?

What are the risks to my company? My team? My organization?

Should we shut down our school, our office? Do we postpone all events?

And critically important, how do I communicate this to my constituents? How do I relay confidence when many are worried and concerned?

Leadership is forged in times like these.

Do we have all the answers in a time of crisis? Of course not. That’s why leaders will feel vulnerable when making decisions.

But remember that your customers, your teams, your stakeholders are much smarter than you think. They have access to so much information.

Empathize. And then tell them what you know, and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t know.

Help set expectations on communication moving forward, how you’ll share updates, how often, etc.

Welcome questions, and keep open lines of communication.

I’ve found that transparency goes a long way to building trust, and that is the fuel for leadership over the long term.

The amazing thing about transparency is that it’s linked with self-awareness. You’ll quickly recognize your deficits and it’ll help you navigate as a leader.

These storms shall certainly pass, and I believe we’ll get through it with the help of these key principles.