If you’ve felt conflicting emotions as a leader in your business over the last few months — flying high one minute, in the depths of despair the next — Glenna Hecht is here to tell you you’re not alone. The human resources expert and founder of Humanistic Consulting recently shared advice in Floral Management magazine on how to be a better leader in difficult times.
Among her tips:
Embrace intros and outros. “Communicating often with your team has never been so important,” Hecht said. “Help set expectations and remind them of the fluidity of situations by providing context at the beginning and end of conversations.” For example, Hecht recommends starting conversation or email using an intro such as: “As of today (or this morning/this afternoon), this is how we are going to approach the situation.” Then, end conversations or emails using an outro: “If anything changes regarding the topics discussed, I will communicate those updates in our next meeting or discussion.”
Be vulnerable. “As the leader, your team believes you have all the answers,” Hecht said. “In the current situation, you don’t. Be direct, honest and vulnerable about that reality. If you find you need to change your approach, own it, and explain the reasons and next steps.” (One phrase she suggests: “I just learned xx so that means we need to change xx and do xx.”)
Honor people’s fear and trauma. “This crisis has brought new traumas and new experiences into your life and your employees’ lives, like self-quarantine, illness, lack of freedom, being alone or with family, learning about your spouse or kids, home schooling, learning technology, working from home,” Hecht said. “Recognize and honor those experiences. You may be surprised by the generosity with which your team members and supporters rise to the occasion.”
Mary Westbrook is the editor in chief of Floral Management magazine.