As the world is going through an unprecedented health crisis, we will undoubtedly see the emergence of strong leaders. Business leaders, world leaders, the backbone of a family…. whatever type of leader you are, it’s important to remain true to yourself and those around you during times of crisis.

From emergency wards, to board meetings and government press conferences, all over the world ‘leaders’ are making their mark, with their decisions having a profound impact on the here and now, and the years to come.

More than ever, we need a strong team and individuals who are willing to lead us through 2020.

Here are 7 ways to be a leader in 2020:

1. Keep calm

A man of calm is like a shady tree. People who need shelter come to it. - Toba Beta, Betelgeuse Incident: Insiden Bait Al-Jauza

A good leader will stay calm. A great leader will also stay connected. It’s all well and good someone staying calm and managing their own fears, whilst blocking out the rest of the world. But being able to address the fears of those around you, and calmly process this into an actionable objective to rectify the situation is what makes a great leader.

Leaders are both calm and contextual. They understand both the overarching picture and the finer details. So stay calm and offer guidance and value to others.

2. Listen more than you speak

The success or failure of a business can often be traced back to a single decision, so it’s no surprise that strategic decision making has a profound impact on company success.

Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.
― Peter F. Drucker

The key to making better decisions is to be informed and to be informed we have to listen to others.  Crisis or not, it is important to seek advice and listen to those around us. Find expert consultants in relevant fields, friends and those inside your team and ask them for advice on your situation. Making informed decisions is imperative for effective leadership.

3. It’s cool to be kind

To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Leaders have qualities which make them strong, but also sensitive. During times of crisis it’s important to show compassion and kindness to others.

Ask your team how they are doing, offer support to your clients, send someone a message and ask them “Are you ok?”. It’s the smallest gesture of kindness, which can make the biggest difference.

For those in tough positions, such as being a business owner facing the daunting prospect of redundancies and closure, remember to use communication to explain your position. Don’t leave employees in the dark.

Recognise the impact a crisis has on mental health and offer guidance and support for this. Make sure you don’t dismiss your own mental health either… admitting that you’re struggling is not a sign of weakness.

4. Proactive, not reactive

If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe. ― Abraham Lincoln

When a crisis hits, it is often too late to make changes to completely avoid it. Strong leaders will adapt to the situation and think forward, trying to pre-empt the next move.

Don’t wait for the next bad thing to happen or the next challenge for a need to react. Think forward and be proactive. Time is of the essence during a crisis.

Turn the negative into a positive and use this time wisely to your advantage.

5. Communicate

A leader must be able to share knowledge and ideas to transmit a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to others. — Gilbert Amelio, President and CEO of National Semiconductor Corp

Communication is key. Your remote team will either succeed or fail, purely based on communication. And leading during a crisis means you have to communicate more than ever.

We suggest leaders make communication clear, objective, consistent and most importantly frequent. Try having a weekly update for the entire team, followed by internal group weekly WIP’s as well as individual communication.

6. Create a strategy

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.  — Japanese proverb

Don’t just roll with the punches. Make a strategic plan and stick to it.

This is important at all times, particularly in business and government, and not just during a crisis.

Reassess your situation. What is happening? How can we make it better? Who could help? What could we change?

Forge a proactive strategy which encompasses the issues for all in your team and make sure you communicate this strategy. Leaving people in the dark will only add to the confusion, fear and anxiety.

7. Increase efficiencies

Don’t be busy. Just be productive. – ask Marketing

In times of crisis, we need to be lean. And we don’t mean physically.

Take an in-depth look at your processes. Whether it’s a family unit, work team or a country, we all need to make changes to increase efficiency, sustainability and chances of survival.

Get busy being efficient.

For many businesses, this may mean looking at the new JobKeeper payment, reducing outgoing costs and/or pivoting the business operations. Outsource some of your work to remote workers, reduce overheads, enhance your marketing and lead generation, automate processes, opt for economical technology…. Whatever it may be, ensure you integrate sustainable changes, which will make working, living and surviving the crisis easier for both you and your team.

Need Additional Support?

In a time of uncertainty and change, we think it’s critical to support one another the way we know best. As virtual working experts, we want to share our expertise and knowledge.

That’s why we launched ask for help, offering free 30-minute phone calls to give guidance and marketing communications support during this time. You can email us on hello@askmarketing.com.au to schedule your free session.

Get your FREE Marketing Support pack

Our team has also launched a free support pack for all business owners, highlighting the 7 key tactics every business must implement right now. Download your copy here - https://www.askmarketing.com.au/covid-19-marketing-support-pack

Alexandra King

Ali has a proven track record of aligning with commercial business objectives and translating research into key insights that result in exceptional marketing strategies, online user experiences and positive financial results.