Leader Up – Leading Through Crisis

Six requirements to lead through crisis


It seems like it was not too long ago that we were making plans for a great 2020… and then:

  • November of 2019, COVID-19 was suspected to have an outbreak in Wuhan, China
  • January 11th, 2020, China reported its first death from the virus
  • January 21st, the first case of a new coronavirus in the US was confirmed
  • January 30th, the World Health Organization declares a global health emergency
  • February 12th, the US reports its first American death
  • March 3rd, US breaks 100 cases
  • Late March: The US begins a period of lockdown. Restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. are closed all over the country. Businesses are closing. People are losing jobs. Everyone in the country is impacted one way or another.

At one point in March, there were leadership teams having discussions about the disease and the unlikelihood of going into some level of quarantine.

A week later, it happened.

Suddenly the game changed. No one knew what to do.  No one had been down this path before. It was the critical time for leadership. And nearly every leader on the planet was faced with the need to make decisions for their organizations, their people and their families. Having never been down this path before with a great deal of uncertainty in the future, there was and is no playbook, there were no pandemic plans, and there were no leadership gurus spouting advice. It was as if the world was suddenly silenced.

Nevertheless, as leaders, it was time for us to step up and lead.  We had a job to do.

Here are 6 things we do to guide our businesses and our people through crisis time:

  1. Temper your emotions. According to an article in heysigmund.com, anxiety impairs your decision-making ability to the degree that it actually disengages the part of the brain that is essential for making good decisions. Which means that the decisions that we make on behalf of everyone we are leading – essentially those we work for – will likely not be the best ones.
  2. Communicate with your people. Just like you, they have no idea what to expect. But they do know that you are the one that is leading the way. They need to hear from you what you expect to happen and know that you are being open and honest with them. Even if it is to say, “I don’t know what is going to happen, but I am going to make sure to keep you up to date with information as it becomes available.” Make sure you stay in touch with them on a regular basis and if possible, include them in some of the decision-making process. Here are some other great communication tips from the Center for Creative Leadership.
  3. Evaluate the situation. This is not the time to go with your gut, with rumors or what everyone else is doing. This is the time to understand what is happening, what potential outcomes exist and what needs to happen as a result of any one of those scenarios. For example, if all of your projects suddenly shut down and you have 20 people on payroll, an office building, etc., what happens if they are shut down for 2 weeks.  What about a month? What about 2 months?  Insight assessment offers some tips on making decisions.
  4.  Act. Just like before the pandemic, nothing happens until somebody does something. There is a chance that you’ve had to change your business model in order to provide for the new needs your customers have. You need to be in touch with them to let them know how you can support their needs and stay in touch with them as the situation continues to evolve. leadershipthoughts.com offers insight on the need to have a sense of urgency.
  5.  Adjust. The only thing that stays the same is that things always change. We’ve seen over the past few months areas of the country closing, then reopening, then closing again. We have heard threats about a resurgence later in the year and other strains of Coronavirus that may develop over time. As new information comes in, you’ve got to adjust your strategy, retrench and move forward. Learn more about being an agile leader here.
  6.  Keep Fighting. Giving up is easy. As a leader, it is your responsibility to continue to provide encouragement, demonstrate commitment, be empathetic and make good decisions. It’s not just your team counting on you any longer. Everyone in the community around your business is encouraged by every business that is able to keep their doors open. According to this article in Forbes, tenacity is a key leadership trait.

As they say, leadership is more than a job. It is a calling. Our responsibility is much greater than those who allow the torch to pass or who never take the reins at all. During a crisis, whether a pandemic or any other emergency there is no greater need for true leadership than times like this.

A timeline of how COVID-19 has unfolded in the U.S.

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About Triple Crown Construction:

Triple Crown Construction is a Partner-Grade provider specializing in pre-construction, commercial construction and hospitality renovation. This allows you to focus on driving revenue while we focus on your construction projects.

Since 1991, TCC has provided expertise in delivering successful turnkey solutions to its clients across the nation. Efficient processes and cutting-edge technology has enabled TCC to maximize client value while minimizing project pitfalls. A core team of Estimators, Project Managers and Superintendents provide guidance and support to a network of TCC Certified subcontractors. Nestled in picturesque Frederick County, MD, TCC is an active member of the community, routinely participating in local events and charity programs.

We are Partner-Grade™
Partner-Grade is a shared commitment to and investment in our Client-Partners’ interests. We offer confidence through knowledge in the construction process, turnkey projects and a solution-oriented approach. Our brand virtues of efficiency, clear communication and providing an excellent customer experience are at the core of every project. Can you afford to work with a firm that’s not “Powered by Partner-Grade?”

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