Batiste Leadership
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Five Steps to Communicating During Times of Crisis

Effective communication is difficult in the best of times. During volatile, uncertain, complex and
ambiguous times, with many team members working remotely, communication becomes even more
difficult. Leaders who effectively communicate are intentional. They know that how they communicate
with team members can significantly impact performance morale, and results. Let’s break it down.

First, Provide Clarity of Task and Purpose.

An effective communicator provides focus and clarity around purpose, intent, and the organization’s values-based culture.  Bringing everything back to these fundamentals every chance you get will go a long way towards keeping teammates on task in an empowering, creative environment.  Repeat your purpose, intent and highlight one of your values at the beginning of every meeting, whether virtual or in person.

Second, Repeat Yourself Often.

It is impossible to over-communicate.  Transparently and openly share information to keep teammates informed and demonstrate that you care, are involved, and on top of the situation. Repetition matters.  Information is power. Be intentional about establishing new communication channels and routines in times of crisis.

Third, Communicate Face-to-Face.

When working remotely, use video meetings so that you can see your team members and they can see you.  Use the video to make yourself present, visible and available. Also, research tells us that only 18 percent of communications is verbal.  The remaining 82 percent is tone and body language which are difficult to discern on a phone call.  With greater understanding, you are better positioned to empathize with and motivate your team.

Fourth, Ensure Alignment.

When empowering your team, ask your teammates to restate your instructions in their own words.  This “brief-back” will uncover disconnects and misunderstanding that you can eliminate on the front end of a task. 

Fifth, and finally, Lead Yourself First.

Great leaders appreciate that they need to be the “calm in the storm” regardless of the circumstances.  An organization takes on the persona of its leader and the leader therefore sets the tone.  Be fallible and level headed and remember that the first report is often wrong.  Don’t over react to bad news.  This will strengthen trust within your team and create conditions for better decision making and results.

Communicating during difficult times is challenging and the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the leader.  Before every meeting you conduct, either in person or virtual, take time to reset in advance to be your best self.  Set the example.  Repetitively focus on the fundaments of purpose, intent and values-based culture.  Pay attention to the tone and body language of your teammates.  Conduct “brief-backs” to confirm alignment and understanding.  Finally, endeavor to be the “calm in the storm”.  Your teammates expect you to be a great communicator.

Join us for our next webinar for tips and tools on how to communicate effectively in times of crisis.

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