4 considerations to lead during times of uncertainty

Yesterday, Michael Meath, former chair and professor at Syracuse University and crisis communications expert, joined Crew COO Scott VanBrunt for a free webinar on how to build trust with your frontline workforce. Michael shared real-life anecdotes from his 40+ years of experience of working with companies on how to navigate sensitive and crisis scenarios - and through all of that, how to cultivate trust and lead with integrity.


The first six months of 2020 have brought incredible uncertainty and posed great challenges to business leaders; establishing trust with your frontline has never been more important. As we look to the second half of 2020, we wanted to share Michael’s four tips for leaders planning for the future:


  1. Continue to put people first One of the many effects of COVID-19 has been the change in how people communicate with each other. It’s become common for emails, meetings and phone calls to end with messages of “be well, stay safe” or similar sentiments. As Michael cites earlier in the webinar, “All business activity is human activity.” It’s important to remember, even when not in the midst of a pandemic, that showing genuine care for the people on your team demonstrates where your company’s values lie and helps to build trust across the organization.

  2. Ditch the bureaucracy In Michael’s words: “now is the time to be nimble.” With so much uncertainty, particularly for businesses that are adjusting to changing rules and regulations across different states, focusing on what you can do to move your business forward now will help you be agile and adaptable to other changes down the line. Don’t throttle the progress you and your team members can make by getting bogged down in how things have been done before

  3. Consider aluminum siding On the topic of being adaptable, now is also the time to encourage out-of-the-box thinking. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented approaches. Look to your frontline, who have the closest interactions with your customer base, for ideas on how to improve the way your business operates - particularly with the new, largely contactless forms of customer service. Show your frontline team that you trust their experience and understanding of your customer by listening to them, valuing their contributions and recognizing the work they do and the ideas they have.

  4. Empower Gen Y & Gen Z Michael encourages business leaders to ‘step out of the way’ for the younger generations - to give them opportunities to lead, to share their ideas and creativity. Don't count out the contributions of team members just because they are younger or newer to the team. Make sure that you are listening to the younger members of your team and looking at ways to implement their fresh ideas and perspectives.

Don’t miss the rest of Michael and Scott’s conversation - download the webinar replay and share with your team today!


For more from Michael, read our Q&A with him, including his five steps to successful crisis communications. To learn more about how Crew is supporting businesses directly affected by COVID-19, click here.

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