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What people want from leaders during a crisis

blog progress Mar 14, 2023

This post was originally published March 25, 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it is equally applicable for leadership in all times and seasons. 


No one knows how long the COVID-19 Crisis will last.

It's a hard time for nearly everyone right now.

 It can feel overwhelming.


You are one of the many leaders who are adjusting to courageously navigate these uncharted waters. As we all adjust to leading teams and organizations  virtually, searching for new growth opportunities, and keeping things stabilized…

I want to remind you of the #1 resource you have:  People. 

People on your team and in your organization are, guess what… PEOPLE!

That’s right, they are not robots, they’re human beings who have fears, concerns and emotions.

You are the leader. During crisis leaders chart the course for the organization, care for the people inside of it, and communicate consistently to both. 


During the Covid-19 crisis-- or any crisis you lead through-- here are 10 things people need right now:


1. Confidence

Maintain your poise and have composure. People take their emotional cues from you.

In word and posture communicate, “I believe we’ll be ok. It may take awhile, but we’ll be ok.”


2. Hope

Be a dealer in hope. The COVID-19 virus is contagious, but hope is also contagious.

Let people know you believe in them, you believe in a better future and you believe there will be a solution.


3. Encouragement 

We all have less to do right now, so let’s fill that time encouraging those we lead. For most this doesn’t come natural, so schedule time to encourage. 

Send texts, make calls, send short videos. 


4. Care

You’re concerned about your organization, but people want to know if you care about them. People are afraid. Their security is challenged. Let them know you’re paying attention.


5. Connection 

Many communicate, few connect. People need people to connect with. Connect more often than you think you need to.

Let your team know, “It’s going to be ok. I believe in us. We are going to get through this.”


6. Information

People want to know whatever you know, even if it’s no different than what you knew yesterday.

No new information to communicate?

Expound more on what you’ve already told them.


7. Consistency

Nothing else is predictable right now, so be predictable right now. Select a consistent rhythm for communication and collaboration.

People need to establish a new normal.

Your consistency helps them do that! 


8. Input 

You don’t have to have all of the answers. Get people involved in finding the answers, pivoting and innovating.

Bring your team in the braintrust to find a solution. 


9. Authenticity

Now is the time to let people know you don't eat nails for breakfast. You have concerns. The struggle is real.

Communicate that.

Talk about what’s going on in your family, what’s in your head, and what God is teaching you. 


10. Positivity 

Be positive. Philippians 4:8 says it best,

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” 

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