There is no doubt that we are living in a time of crisis. I don’t know if the crisis is here to stay. Since the financial market crisis of 2008, it seems that we have not come out of one crisis to get into another. In the last 2 years, with the global crisis caused by the pandemic caused by Covid, we can say that we are in a permanent crisis. Times of great difficulty, great threats, and great uncertainty.
Leading has never been an easy challenge, much less in such a prolonged situation of crisis and uncertainty. In a time of difficulty like the current one, leadership must be redefined. We must rethink how to develop leadership.
In this sense, the North American consulting firm Gallup has scientifically analyzed what followers need from their leaders in a moment of difficulty, in a moment of crisis like the one we are experiencing. And this research points to 4 BASIC NEEDS THAT LEADERS MUST OFFER THEIR FOLLOWERS.
- HOPE: in crisis situations, people tend to take two directions: either they are afraid and desperate and feel like victims, or they choose to compromise and face the situation. In this context, for followers to have hope, it is necessary for the leader to clearly communicate an action plan to respond to the crisis situation. In this situation, employees need to know how they – in their job – fit into this situation. In addition, they need to be very clear about how their work affects customers, the mission and purpose, and the future of the organization. The workers, in moments of crisis, look more to the leader than ever to receive trust and hope that there is a way out or a solution to the current situation.
- STABILITY: when people have to adapt to moments of disruption, they tend to return to basic needs. Workers need to feel prepared to do the work they have to do. In these stressful situations, leaders need to clarify the basic elements, that is, clarify expectations, review the necessary material and equipment, and readjust roles so that each of the workers can develop their strengths in the best possible way. Employees need leaders who define their priorities by involving them in setting goals and constantly clarifying the roles and functions they have to perform.
- TRUST. In any crisis, when people are not getting information in a timely manner, they often begin to think that information is being withheld from them. This erodes trust and levels of stress and fear rise. In this sense, the responsibility of the leaders is to transfer the organization’s response to the crisis to each of its workers. Only those directly responsible can know the situation of each worker, keep them informed and adjust expectations accordingly. Committed and talented leaders are essential to keep workers informed during times of crisis and help them connect with their team and their team with the rest of the organization.
- COMPASSION: Today work and life are more blended than ever. For many people, this constant mix of work and life can be unbearable and affect their level of well-being. In this sense, great leaders must emerge as guarantors of the well-being of the workers. We must develop leaders who inspire their workers in times of crisis, guaranteeing their well-being and understanding their main human needs.
4 basic needs that good leaders must meet in a time of crisis and uncertainty. Because as the American religious Andy Stanley said, “When there is no uncertainty, there is no need for leadership. The higher the level of uncertainty, the greater the need for leadership. Your ability as a leader will depend on how you learn to deal with uncertainty.”