How to lead a stormy ship?

The role of organizational leaders in managing human resources during the crisis

Mohammadreza Dezfoulian

Crises have an undeniable role in human life. As they can turn a life into ruin, they can turn into an opportunity for growth if we encounter them carefully. Within any organization or company, crises can be resolve with excellent leadership, and at the same time, enhance organizational experiences. But one of the most critical aspects that usually gets ignored is how to manage human resources to steer the organization’s ship into a safe destination with minor damage during the crisis.

Creating a network

Leaders need to develop human resources during the crisis and help them continue to look ahead. Accordingly, the most crucial part of managing people is creating a network of team members to set an organization without a top-down response or command and control structure.

During a crisis, a small group of executives in the high level of organizations is not enough because there are many unfamiliar problems that the leaders must face. So, the more information is collected and analyzed, the faster and more effective decisions will make. 

Leaders need to build a network to clarify priorities and empower others to discover and implement solutions. With this strategy, leaders can organize a network of close consultants to develop rapid problem-solving and increase performance under high-stress conditions. 

A network of experts is a group of people who have united to achieve a common goal and help the company through critical periods. Some people in this network continue their actions outside, such as regular business operations. In contrast, others identify the crisis’s implications for routine business activities and make modifications, such as helping employees adapt to new work norms. 

The role of leaders in this network is crucial because they should encourage collaboration and transparency across the teams. They can do this by distributing decision-making power and sharing up-to-date information.

Promoting leaders

In times of crisis, one of the essential points for leaders is to keep composure to relieve stress on their teams; Just as the superior managers of an organization must be prepared to change positions, organizational leaders must learn the techniques of “deliberate calm” and “optimism.” 

They must empower the right people to make crisis-response decisions across that network that came on top. On the other hand, they must learn how to perform against the decision-makers mistakes; they must make corrections without overreacting or paralyzing the organization. The leader’s personal experiences are very effective in dealing with problems in these circumstances. Crisis-response leaders must unify teams behind a particular goal and

frame questions for them to investigate. By practicing deliberate calm, these leaders can find ways to separate the organization from the hazardous situation and determine its direction.

Making decisions 

Since that crises involve many surprises and unknowns, leaders need to know how to make decisions in situations of uncertainty. They should Pause to assess and anticipate, then act.

This cycle should be ongoing, for it helps leaders maintain a state of deliberate calm and avoid overreacting to new information as it comes in.

Although some moments during the crisis need to call for immediate action, with no time to assess or anticipate, leaders will finally find occasions to stop, reflect, and think ahead before making extra movements.

This method continues the same exercises of “deliberate calm” and helps leaders gather critical information from a network of team members and make the right decision based on the analysis. As the leaders decide what to do, they must act with resolve. This strategy will build trust within the organization and encourage team members to seek solutions in the face of a crisis.

Making empathy and communication

The other duty of leaders during a crisis in the face of human resources is to promote psychological safety to openly discuss ideas, questions, and concerns without fear of consequences because, in a landscape-scale turmoil, people’s minds turn first to their survival and other basic needs.

In this situation, leaders should not forget their primary task to positively change people’s lives. Since each crisis will affect people in particular ways, leaders should pay careful attention to how people struggle and take corresponding measures to support them. The most familiar situation that we still face is the spread of coronavirus that millions of people lost their lives. It is vital that leaders prove empathy and open themselves to compassion from others, and remain attentive to their well-being.

Thoughtful, frequent communication shows that leaders follow the situation and adjust their responses as they learn more. Leaders should take special care to address each audience’s concerns, questions, and interests. Having members of the crisis-response team speak firsthand about what they are doing can be particularly effective. On the other hand, Communication with team members shouldn’t stop once the crisis has passed. Offering a positive, realistic outlook can have a powerful effect on employees, inspiring them to support their recovery. 

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