Crisis Tips: Be Visible, Communicate With Employees

Despite efforts to return to "business as usual" following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, corporate leaders might find lingering effects in the workplace for sometime, psychology experts say. Also, if a long-term war ensues, many people could be facing an increasing number of personal fears crises. Executive coaching company Clarke Poynton Grosser, Deerfield, Ill., has developed a list of suggestions for business leaders who want to respond appropriately:

  • Behave as you want your people to behave -- calm, confident, and strong. In a crisis, people mimic the behavior of their leaders.
  • Assume that someone in the office has had an unknown personal loss and behave accordingly. It is important to appreciate the gravity of the situation and avoid frivolity and levity. Make sure your office functions and communications are appropriate.
  • Be visible. You can't lead if you are not connected and involved. Walk around your office, answer questions, make yourself visible in the workplace.
  • Lend a hand. Go overboard to handle the personal needs of your people. Overcome inconveniences. Little things count, and do a lot to build a team atmosphere that is necessary for maximum efficiency in a crisis.
  • Communicate often and from the heart. Share your feelings with your subordinates. Give a realistic view of the situation and ask for help with the challenges it may pose to your business. Be generous with thanks.
  • Be ready to improvise. Don't let people revert to bureaucracy, rules, and regulations. Existing communications, travel, or other logistic systems may not work. Think outside the box and keep processes flowing.
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