Even though nobody knows what lies ahead, a great leader should be capable of reacting effectively when faced with uncertainty. Here’s what excellent crisis leadership looks like in a time like this.

Truly great crisis leadership happens when timing, skill and talent intermingle. Much like with music, the artistry emerges when leaders have mastered the basics and the uniqueness of their own voice begins to be heard. Here are eight leadership characteristics all great leaders in crisis share.

They communicate clear expectations for each person on the team

In changing times, clear heads prevail. Administrative staff members need to be clear about what their job is and how their performance will be measured. Sales staff should have reasonable sales benchmarks and high standards on professional conduct.

Team accountability to these expectations, both individually and collectively, is your ally in times of chaos. It also helps build a strong culture and lower turnover.

They ensure each person has what they need to represent the team well

With things in a state of flux, don’t leave any gaps in training or support. Each person should have the tools, coaching and knowledge to represent the team to the highest standards. Your team brand’s promise is one of your greatest assets. Don’t shortcut your team members’ ability to fulfill it, even in uncertain times.

They give each person on the team an opportunity to do what they do best every day

Crisis has a way of bringing out the best and worst in people. The secret to managing people effectively? Celebrating the uniqueness of each person. We all have our strengths. Help people discover what they do best. But don’t stop there. Find an outlet for them to express this each and every day.

They consistently recognize and praise each person for what they do well

Praise in public, and correct in private. Look for ways to recognize the great things people do within the course of their everyday work. This public celebration not only encourages the team member but also inspires everyone else to raise their game.  

They care about each person on the team as a person

Profit is important. But the people who help create it are critical to your success. Each person needs to know they matter. This is only spotlighted in times of crisis. Know what’s going on in their lives, and foster a culture where people feel loved and cared about just because they’re human.  

They encourage each person’s development, both personally and professionally

With active social distancing and more people working remotely, we all have more time to work on our business versus in it. Actively invest in each person’s growth. Help team members be the very best at what they do. If you can’t teach them, find those who can. This extends to developing their knowledge of financial planning, relationships, communication and physical well-being.

They listen to the opinions of each person on the team

We’re all in uncharted territory. Each person sees the opportunities and challenges within the team from a different perspective. Learn to take the time to stop and listen. The insights you’ll glean from those in the trenches will bring brilliant and elegant solutions.

They lead with purpose, making each person know what they do is more important than just making money

We often get lost in the trees and forget to pull back to see the beauty of the forest. What we get to do is far more important than merely making money. We touch lives. People are better off when they work with a team of professionals.

While dealing with issues of their home, our clients are in the midst of one of the most emotionally challenging things they’ll experience in their lives. It can be beautiful or a nightmare — dictated, more often than not, by the real estate professionals they place their trust in. Remind each person that what they do matters more than they know.

Crisis highlights the good and the bad in each of us. Good leaders communicate and bring calm to the storm. It’s during these uncertain times that great leaders thrive. Great crisis leadership happens when timing, skill and talent intermingle into artistry.

Chris Pollinger, partner, Berman & Pollinger, LLC is a senior sales and operational executive skilled in strategic leadership, culture building, business planning, sales, marketing, acquisitions, operations, recruiting, and team building. 

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