How to Manage a Crisis Through Recovery
Crisis and Recovery Leadership and the Remote Worker
In this guide, you’ll learn…
What Teams Need During a Crisis
In times of crisis, employees look to their leaders to demonstrate the appropriate kind of response. They’re looking for guidance, support, and transparency. From a leadership perspective, there are 4 basic universal needs that must be met right now:
- Set defined priorities to focus work. Priorities might change over time; for example, early priorities may strictly be health, safety, and customer service. Later, priority may be focused on picking up lost productivity or discovering a more streamlined supply chain. Priorities must be clear so that employees know what they need to be working on, and where their focus should be.
- Create a roadmap for alternatives to potential conflicts. What problems might arise as teams aim to meet the priorities above? What determines what is urgent and what is important, and when does one take precedence over the other? Which priorities are about survival, and which are about sustainability? Leaders can score these conflicts against each other to keep priorities aligned with the organization, and employees will always know what to work on at a given time.
- Create structure. Establish which team members will own what. In a time of uncertainty, structure is important to help reduce stressors. Empower team members to make appropriate decisions where possible, and focus on limiting the amount of work that escalates upward and, instead, keeping it at its delegated level so that everyone is working on their areas of responsibility and fewer lines of confusion are being crossed.
- Don’t hesitate. When something isn’t working, it’s better to adapt and figure out a solution than to lose precious time to indecisiveness. Leading through a crisis requires acting quickly and being able to pivot on short notice in order to stay agile and flexible to the challenges coming your way.
- Traditional methods may no longer work. There is no playbook for managing during a pandemic, so this may be the time to get creative and try new ways of doing things. The actions that previously drove results may no longer be relevant. The best leaders adjust quickly and develop new plans of attack.
- Have a clear view of what your team is doing at all times. Managers can build strong and trusting relationships with their teams by increasing communication and keeping their finger on the pulse of what individuals are doing and how they’re feeling. Increase check-ins and welfare checks, and hold stand-ups to ensure everyone is on the same page and receiving the same information day-to-day.
- Find new technology that can streamline your work and bring people together. Teamwork is more important than ever, and when we work remotely, that can be difficult to accomplish. Find tools that make it easier to share files, information, and keep each other informed on a regular basis.
- Being able to rely on our leaders gives us a sense of comfort and ease. Employees need to know that their managers are paying attention, thinking ahead, and there to support their teams as they need, in the ways that they’re needed.
- Key metrics and KPIs that measure performance help both managers and employees to better understand the progress they’re making and the impact of their work. Managers should regularly communicate goals and benchmarks to the team so that everyone knows where their work stands.
- Employees look to their managers for how to respond. Maintaining composure and level-headedness demonstrate an even keel emotional response to a stressful situation, and teams will respond in kind. Being able to control emotions when tensions run high is a critical part of reliability — both in the work and interpersonally.
- Managers should prioritize connecting with team members, and for them to connect with each other. It helps employees to know that someone is looking out for their well-being. This is a stressful time, and we can sometimes forget to take stock of how we’re carrying it all.
- Leaders should communicate clearly and often, keeping the lines of communication open and flowing for anyone to raise any concerns — both personal and task-related — at any time.
- Ask for help as needed. Stressful times can be overwhelming, and we’re looking at potential burnout being more of a risk than normal. Managers and employees alike may experience burnout of some kind, and it’s important to know that asking for help and reaching out is encouraged and welcome.
- Encourage breaks, socialization, and time off in order to reset and decompress. Socializing through virtual happy hours, coffee breaks, and a few minutes to chat in the morning before the meeting starts helps build community and reestablish the “water cooler” chat employees would engage within their normal environment.
- Focus on ways to motivate employees, and find opportunities to provide positive feedback and encouragement. Create a special Slack channel or chat group to give shout outs and celebrate each other’s success, or share funny memes back and forth to lighten the mood.
In a normal scenario, the primary focus of leaders is to foster teamwork, drive productivity, and engage their teams. But now, leaders and employees need to work closely together to move quickly in order to control budgets, ease tensions, and uplift spirits. And throughout any crisis, managers must also ensure the health and safety of their teams and manage teams in a remote setting. All of these things compound to make the normal challenges that much more difficult.
The Caliper Profile And Times of Crisis
The Caliper Profile helps managers better understand their own strengths, inclinations, and competencies. Using the assessment reports, managers can align their goals, develop their strengths, and seek out coaching to help them adjust and adapt to their new circumstances.
Our Crisis and Recovery Leadership job model competency reports help managers gain insight into the key traits that help lead through stressful times.
Instead of approaching a crisis from a reactive perspective, the Caliper Profile allows managers to anticipate the fallout and develop a proactive plan to structure, guide, and lead through the crisis as it unfolds in real-time.
Managers can also help build more well-balanced teams that leverage the innate strengths of individuals and place people in roles that lean on those strengths. The competency report for Remote Workers helps managers better understand the strengths, inclinations, and competencies of their team members. Using the assessment reports, managers can align, develop, and coach to specific skills that will build more robust, well-rounded teams that can better weather the storm.
Pivoting at the First Sign of a Crisis
Crises rarely come with fair warning. But, the Highlights Report gives managers a quick snapshot of which skills can make a major impact on their teams, immediately. They can quickly investigate how their own strengths align with the needs of the moment and better anticipate the unique additional challenges they might face as the crisis confronts the skills that require more focus. By understanding where their own weak points are, they can craft plans that account for and accommodate the entire spectrum of their skill set.
When managers need to move quickly, the Highlights report is a critical tool that provides an overview of what awaits them and helps them anticipate challenges and adapt new solutions faster and more easily.
How to Lead in a Crisis
The Caliper Crisis and Recovery Leadership Job Model helps frame the key personality traits necessary to connect with and engage employees during times of stress. More so than normal, leaders must be present, communicative, and strong. What’s more, they need to be able to deliver on the promises they make.
Before managers can effectively lead their teams, they need to take a moment to understand what’s ahead of them and the best way to address it. The Selection Report for the Crisis and Recovery Leadership job model details how an individual aligns with the core competencies required to successfully lead while maintaining morale and productivity. Competencies like:
- Composure — remaining calm under pressure and leading with a level head.
- Resiliency — recovering quickly from setbacks and maintaining energy and morale during trying times.
- Comfortable with Ambiguity — being able to perform and lead in a productive manner despite the future being uncertain and rules being vague.
- Team Building — the ability to bring people together to work toward a common goal during times of tension and stress.
- Delegation — knowing how and where to assign tasks in order to equally disperse the work and organize tasks so that there is little confusion and an even workload.
- Decisiveness — feeling confident in decision making even during ambiguous situations.
- Planning — organizing and scheduling tasks in order to better accomplish goals and move productivity forward.
- Setting Priorities — the ability to structure work so that urgent and important tasks are accomplished in the proper order and on time.
Understanding Remote Worker Competencies
The Caliper Remote Worker Job Model helps frame the key personality traits necessary to be successful in that setting, while allowing managers to get a well-rounded view of the strengths and weaknesses that exist within the team dynamic. Through clear communication, proper support, and a solid team structure, your remote teams will have a more sound environment that promotes job satisfaction and productivity.
Before managers can effectively lead their teams, they need to understand who they have on their team and how they like to work and communicate. The Selection Report for our new Remote Worker job model details how an individual aligns with the core competencies required for success in a remote role. Competencies like:
- Composure — remaining calm under pressure and the ability to perform to a high standard during times of stress.
- Learning Agility — quickly adapting to new needs, methods, and processes as workloads and priorities change.
- Information Seeking — taking initiative to learn new things in order to adapt to the new needs of their role during a crisis.
- Accountability — reliably completing work, taking ownership of their role, and accepting responsibility for mistakes or innovations as they occur.
- Adaptability — being flexible to accommodate changes to their role, responsibilities, or department as they happen, and quickly adjusting to the new environment.
- Time Management — the ability to complete their tasks in a timely manner, without missing deadlines, sacrificing quality, or leaning on others for additional help.
Coaching Remote Workers
The coaching report puts the manager’s job into context. They can see what behaviors each team member has that will likely make the biggest impact on their remote work, with regard to both strengths and areas of development. This allows managers to anticipate challenges and where they can expect natural strength. In this context, managers can start building relationships based on the information they learn and understand the foundation for the development plan they’ll need to lay out for individual and team growth.
The report also provides suggestions for how managers can better guide employees through their development and how to work and communicate with each team member in a way that suits their preferences and natural motivations.
Helping Remote Workers Develop Themselves
Another important aspect of keeping remote workers engaged and happy is by helping them feel in control of their own work and their own development. The Individual Developmental Guide provides employees with an opportunity for self-reflection and insights into their own skills so that they can better understand themselves, the way they like to work, and where they might face challenges in their work.
But more than just revealing an individual’s natural strengths and challenges, the Individual Developmental Guide offers suggestions, thought-provoking questions, and conversation starters for developing their skill sets further. It’s not just a report for learning about themselves, it’s a tool for guiding them forward in their career.
Recovering from a Crisis
No crisis will last forever, but the lessons learned from them can be instilled on a permanent basis. If there is a silver lining to any crisis, it’s the innovation we are forced to learn along the way.
The benefit of being adaptive and decisive is that crisis leadership can uncover new ways of doing things, upending old standards in favor of new ideas. We may learn new answers to questions we didn’t know we needed to ask. This may come in the form of new ways to manage assets, different ways of looking at performance management, or the realization that everyone doesn’t need to be in the office all day every day.
Good crisis leaders can use clear hindsight to identify the fatal flaws in the old ways of doing things, crowdsource the best new ways of accomplishing the same task, and enlist the help of their teams to implement it long term. When leaders build strong, trusting relationships with their employees throughout the crisis, their team is more likely to help them iron things out and build new processes as things return to normal.
Recovery requires leaders to see what was working before that needs to remain, what no longer works and needs to be replaced, and what organically occurred that can help them in the future. It requires perceptiveness, problem-solving, and action in order to make it happen. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, but try not to leave the important things in the dark as the train begins to emerge.