How do you lead during a crisis? You need to keep flying the plane!
What a week it has been. There are feelings of uneasiness, uncertainty and fear around what’s to come.
As a leader, everyone is looking to you and how you are responding. Remember you set the unwritten ground rules in your team. It’s a time for you to step up and to show your true character.
I want to share with you some advice and a story that I was told very early in my leadership career. It’s not my story. It’s a story of one of a legal partner, Steve who I used to work with; a great leader and mentor in my life.
Steve had a fear of flying. He decided the best way to get over this fear was to take lessons and learn to fly. (as you do!)
During one of the lessons, he was mid-flight when the instructor turned off the engine. Imagine, thousands of feet in the air and no engine – crisis point. He wanted to teach Steve what to do in a crisis. And as a pilot, do you know what you need to do? You need to keep flying the plane; keep the nose up and keep the wings level.
You don’t panic, lurch or take your hands off the controls. You keep your eyes forward, you keep things level and you stay steady.
In your teams right now, people are anxious, stressed and probably finding it hard to focus. Completely understandable. They don’t know what is going to happen in the next few weeks. Remember they’re looking to you for reassurance, comfort and direction.
Firstly, you need to stay centred and settled within yourself. Do whatever you need to do to for you – talk to friends, acknowledge your feelings, eat well, keep up the exercise and your sleep pattern, get out one of your favourite books and read, help others …… And then focus on your team members and keep up your daily and weekly rituals in the office that matter.
Keep the wings steady, keep the nose up, and lead.
This is an opportunity, for you to show confidence and courage and to do work that matters. Your leadership approach is going to make a huge impact on your clients and on the people who you lead.
It’s time for you to fly the plane!