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Omaha Magazine

Greater Omaha Chamber: Leaders Leading in a Crisis

May 26, 2020 09:00AM ● By David Brown

For the sake all the people you care for, stay safe. Practice social distancing. Work remotely if you can. If you have to go to work, do not go in if you are ill. Wash
your hands.

You might wonder how leaders are supposed to lead when you cannot be near other people? I know I have personally become adept at video chats on several different platforms. These chats have become a very important tool for me to speak one on one with staff, volunteers, members and community leaders. They have also allowed us to have conference calls with small and large groups locally and all around the country. But technology can only go so far.

First and foremost, the leader needs to incessantly show support for their teams. All the members of the team. All of the time. Show your empathy for your people and their family situations. Show concern for your customers and suppliers. 

In a crisis, the leader needs to be the calm in the center of the storm. Show your ability and willingness to make decisions large and small. And show that you are nimble enough to jump from one issue to another, always with a clear goal in mind. People need to be able to depend on their leaders for clarity and guidance. Even using remote conferencing technology, the leader can show this calm to their teams.

Next, the leader must rally their teams to plan quickly and act promptly. Many companies have crisis response frameworks in place to begin to structure a response to crisis. But if you don’t, you can begin very quickly by pulling your key people together to discuss business continuity. Let the teams do their work. Use your influence to keep the conversations at a high level and then encourage smaller groups to work out the details. f you only have a small team, break the meetings into progressively more detailed conversations and get a topic completed before moving on to another. Use your influence to guide the process.

Omaha is replete with this kind of leader. The kind of leader that guides people and companies through a crisis. Be safe.

This column was printed in the June 2020 issue of B2B Magazine.