When your organization is facing an existential threat, the only path that will carry you through intact is one that brings your team with you. Unrealistic projections and lofty promises are cheap tricks that devalue your most important asset: an authentic connection with the people you rely on. If you are honest and open about the situation and the path forward, everyone knows where they stand and what needs to be done.
When a crisis comes knocking, it’s no use hoping that “more of the same” methods and processes will provide a viable way forward. You need to be ready to rebuild systems and procedures from scratch to adapt to the new reality. And remember, you’re not just playing a defensive game. Survival through the crisis is the baseline. Your real goal is to develop plans that will help you thrive or emerge stronger.
As a leader, it’s your role to be a beacon of hope, no matter how hard the situation. It’s ok to be honest and vulnerable, but never allow yourself to be bowed down or defeated. Share positive messages about the future, even if they only provide a tiny glimmer of optimism. Talk about the future and lean into your mission. Even in the face of uncertainty, let your team and your customers (and supporters) know, “We got this!”
There is no better source of resolution and grit in the face of difficulties than the reminder that what you do is important. That your efforts, your mission, and your work matters. Draw on this assurance to keep yourself moving forward and find channels to broadcast and share it with your team. As a bonus, the team will know how valuable and appreciated their work is too.