As a sales leader, you have probably weathered many storms. Just as in those times, you must remain calm and confident during the pandemic, helping your team see the way ahead even when it looks uncertain.

Joel Garfinkle, one of the nation’s top 50 leadership coaches, says that leaders who are straightforward and provide honest and transparent information help their team members see that we’re all in this together.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Garfinkle’s tips for providing consistent and transparent communication during a crisis.

1. Don’t try to minimize risks. Many employers aim to ease employees’ fears by delivering a fairytale version of reality — one in which only the best-case scenario is possible. That always backfires, says Garfinkle. Your employees are smart people. They’re concerned about the risks you’re all facing, so don’t downplay them.

2. Highlight the pathway forward. Rather than minimizing risks, focus on the scenario that is most likely to happen if everyone does their part. Drive toward that goal, emphasizing how everyone plays a role in that process. Give each person specific actions they can take to bring your whole team closer to that goal, suggests Garfinkle.

3. Hash out a communication strategy. Garfinkle recommends creating talking points and guidelines for all managers to use. Make sure your talking points are grounded in reality, provide real direction and speak to employees’ top concerns.

4. Establish a cross-functional team. Assemble a team of people from various functions to determine your course of action as you continue to navigate the changes ahead. That way, you’ll gain insight from across the organization. Plus, the staff within different departments will hear updates from the team members they’re most closely connected with, Garfinkle notes.

5. Create backup plans. Garfinkle suggests that leaders create temporary succession plans for their organization. Individuals may become unavailable for shorter or longer periods of time, so create contingency plans for how to fill critical roles within various scenarios.

6. Seek input from everyone. Deliver a survey that asks employees about their fears and primary concerns, so you can determine how to alleviate them, recommends Garfinkle.

7. Communicate key priorities. Your organization may need to regroup and reprioritize due to the changes you’re experiencing. Having a hierarchical list of key priorities will help staff know what to focus on, adapting as needed, especially if current roles fluctuate.

8. Create a video from the CEO. If the CEO can’t talk to all employees at once, record a video message in which the CEO speaks directly to the whole team, says Garfinkle.

9. Ask for help. Mobilize people to take action in specific ways by directly asking for their help. They’ll feel invested in navigating the changes ahead by finding novel solutions when you empower them to take action. Affirm their strengths, present the challenges you need solutions for, and ask them to put their heads together to decide how to best handle them.

During times of transition, you can rise as a leader who brings calm to chaos. By being honest and transparent with your team members, you will build trust and help forge a path forward.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 leadership coaches in the U.S. As an executive coach, he has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Deloitte, Cisco Systems and The Ritz-Carlton.