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April 1, 2020

Leaders: You need to decide. Quickly.

Leading your teams decisively while also demonstrating high levels of emotional intelligence has, quite frankly, never been more important. Not only that but many leaders now need to lead in this way remotely, making decisions very quickly and with no real idea of when this crisis will end.

Rapid decision making

While I talk a lot about leaders needing to be emotionally intelligent, in a crisis that does not mean needing to talking issues through, seeking consensus and making measured decisions with all the information to hand. That is simply not possible during a rapidly changing crisis where your team members may be feeling anxious, isolated from their colleagues and looking to you for direction.

Emotionally intelligent leaders can assess which decisions need to be made immediately and will be confident to make those decisions without all the information or data.

For decades, leaders have been taught that decision making requires moving through some of the classic stages of change – gaining buy-in, building a guiding coalition, sharing a vision for the future etc. In a crisis, these steps need to occur simultaneously and immediately. Leaders who communicate well can often do this through being transparent around the reasons for their decision, explaining what they hope will be achieved by it and then once the decision is made, listening to feedback on any adjustments that might be needed.

Leaders simply cannot wait for more information right now. In many cases, that information may not be forthcoming for some time, if at all, and your team leaders are looking to you to confidently lead them forward. Some of the best leaders in the world make decisions confidently, quickly and courageously and they do so with empathy, self-awareness and transparency.

Now is the time for leaders to put ego aside and lead with authenticity, humility and vulnerability. Trust that those you lead will value and respect you for that and in turn, trust you even more.

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