Hurricane Ophelia wrought havoc, will you be able to lead your team when disaster strikes?

The recent Hurricane Ophelia caused chaos for many in the UK, showing us an extreme example of unavoidable adversity that requires excellent leadership.

Adversity in the workplace can come in many forms, from unexpected fire alarms and burst pipes to more serious issues that can impact your team in prolonged, more negative ways. When disaster strikes, that’s when strong leadership is truly needed. Read on and find out how you can lead and inspire your team in the face of sudden adversity.

Be realistic of your situation

The likelihood of a hurricane hitting the UK is small, however, it’s always best to be prepared.

Confirm whether your business is located in a hurricane zone. If it is, an evacuation plan is vital in assuring your team’s safety. It is also important that you protect your business and building from unnecessary damage in the event of extreme weather or unforeseen events. Preventable measures can be put in place so that your business can return to trading quickly. The phrase “it’s better to be safe than sorry” rings true here, as a short-term investment that will protect your building from hurricanes and flooding will prevent bigger financial losses in the long run if your office must close.

Be empathetic

The onset of sudden situations can be distressing for many, especially when it comes to fire alarms or burst pipes which may mean having to quickly evacuate a space. It’s important to be mindful of the individuals in your team, as a situation that you’re comfortable in may be another person’s worst fear. Empathy and understanding are key in regaining composure and a sense of safety in your team, offering them a relatable, human experience that they can trust in. Don’t be dismissive of anyone’s feelings or experiences. That “stiff upper lip” mentality may have worked in the past, but can instead cause additional distress and a lack of trust. It’s also vital to not get too personal when leading an adverse situation as your team will benefit most from clear, direct guidance.

Stop, think and listen before you react

By listening and processing information before you react in any situation, you will help to ensure that the first decision you make will be the correct one. This will avoid causing extra concern by adding extra steps into your plan or by causing confusion by going back on your word. If anyone voices concerns or ideas, listen to them and take it into account, even if you disagree. Listening is also vital in progressing and learning for future situations. Use this challenge as a teaching moment that will help you in the future.

Image credit: hurricane by Royalty-free image collection licensed under Creative commons 4