Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

The coronavirus pandemic is a crisis, there’s no doubt about it. Hundreds of thousands of workers have been displaced, entire industries are being threatened, and hospitals are overrun. It’s a mess. With the entire world feeling fearful, on edge and uncertain,  there is an opportunity for leaders who wish to stand up and be a source of support. 

This is the time to be a leader.

If you are a leader in your community, your household or your workplace, this is an opportunity for you to support those who look up to you. As business owners, managers, CEOs and leaders, we have the wellbeing of our staff on our shoulders — but we also have the resources to make a positive impact. 

Here are some of the ways you can support employees during this time:

Do research, provide resources, take action

One of the worst things about the internet is the abundance of false information in circulation. It’s important to do your duty and know the facts. This way, you can answer questions people may have and easily throw false information out the window before it causes panic. Once you know the facts, offer guidance and help. As leaders, we often have access to resources that others may not. Whether it be something simple like offering employees links to virtual workouts, offering freedom to let your staff make grocery trips when there are less likely to be others at the store, sharing information about COVID-19 relief plans or providing paid time off for sick individuals, these things can make a huge difference. 

In addition to providing resources, look at how you can act. Is there something you have unique access to that would be of great benefit to others? Does your organization have a cache of cleaning supplies for a conference you’re no longer holding? Could your team help facilitate collection of personal protective equipment for a local hospital? Consider your actions to take part in the community and make a difference. No matter what, every little thing counts.

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, increased the company’s hourly wage by $2 per hour and opened 100,000 temporary jobs to help people laid off from other jobs. This is a great example of how a leader in the community can leverage their power for good in a time of need. 

Communicate fearlessly

One of our core values at AssociationSuccess.org is to communicate fearlessly. Communication is the key to great work and personal relationships. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to remain transparent, honest and clear. 

Silence is a response. Choosing silence in a time of crisis shows fear and uncertainty; expressing your concerns and being open about the future of your organization will garner more respect and provide more support. 

We are all in this together, and expressing your true thoughts and concerns can often be a comfort to those who feel they are alone, and, right now, people may need those connections more than ever. Choosing to communicate is the bold thing to do. It shows you are not a superhuman, above fear and economic strain. It demonstrates humanity and you’ll be surprised to learn the positive impact you can have on others. 

Practice daily self-care like never before

As a leader in my own community, with people who rely on me for income, guidance and support, I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility and stress due to the pandemic. Initially, I was overwhelmed with stress. How could I be a stable support for people through this when I don’t have all the answers? I quickly learned the best way to deal with everything was to prioritize myself. Though this sounds counterintuitive, how can you be a solid support for those around you if you’re not taken care of first? If people depend on you, it’s important to ensure your own cup is full before you begin to fill others’. 

Self-care can take the form of journaling, taking moments of silence, exercising, reading, or doing something you find personally relaxing. Whatever methods you choose, prioritize them daily. This will help you stay grounded when life decides to throw everything up in the air.

Ultimately, the chaos of the coronavirus will pass. The economy will recover. Things will get better. The main objective for now is to make it through the crisis a better person than you were before. The leaders who can work to find the opportunity amongst the ruins are who will envision a future to move us forward and out of this crisis. 

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