A working list of guiding principles for leading through a crisis

The past few weeks have been unprecedented for all of us. At Affirm, we’ve been very busy trying to help our customers, merchants and our employees during this crisis. While there have been other crises I have dealt with at work, this far exceeds any of the previous ones. One of the things I am trying to articulate is what does it take to be a good leader, manager, boss during such a crisis.

Here’s a working list of guiding principles I’ve come up with:

  1. People come first: Always prioritize your team member’s needs around their safety and health over the business’s needs. Say this to them often, listen to their concerns and act accordingly.
  2. Be compassionate: Crises energize some people and for others, it can be stressful, sometimes to the point of inaction. Recognize the folks who’ve risen to the occasion and help those who are struggling.
  3. Focus on what matters: During a crisis, leaders get pulled in different directions. So defining your focus and energy becomes even more critical. Make sure you are focusing on initiatives where you add value to the business. Don’t be in there just because you can get more face time with other leaders.
  4. Divide work equitably: Don’t immediately assume that all your team members are equally busy during a crisis. Evaluate what’s on each team member’s plate and try to be equitable in assigning work to each of them.
  5. Asking for discretionary effort: Feel comfortable asking for people to go above and beyond. You are doing this and it is only fair that others do so. We are all in it together.
  6. Create space for feedback: You might have said this ad nauseam to your team – give me feedback, feel comfortable to disagree, etc. In a crisis more than ever you need to create space and opportunity to do exactly that. It will help you avoid blind spots, consider all angles and help you make decisions faster.

Got guiding principles or tips of your own? Share them in the comments below.

This post first appeared on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/working-list-guiding-principles-leading-through-crisis-mukerji/

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