How Leaders Can Build Trust During Uncertain Times

When faced with uncertainty, people want strong, confident, and decisive leaders who are also transparent and vulnerable enough to express genuine care and concern. Here are five things you can do to ensure that you never lose the trust, loyalty, and support you desire from others.

Listen To Your Team

Leading through uncertainty is a critical experience for you, but it can have greater significance for your employees. This is not a time to “wait and see.” Your employees are deeply concerned about their families, health, and careers. Ask yourself, “What can I do today to listen to my team?” and respond to their concerns in a timely manner. Reach out to large or small teams through Facebook groups, teleconferences, video calls, or other channels.

“Nothing reveals your true leadership style like guiding your team through uncertainty.”


Show Respect

Respecting others could be the most important tool we can employ now.  Whether you agree or disagree with orders to self-quarantine, social distancing or limiting travel, we must respect the experts who are leading us through this devastating time.  Respect the concerns of your employees, too, no matter how trivial they may seem to you. Create a plan that respects their needs and share that plan with your team.

Be Transparent

Leaders often feel compelled to have ALL the answers.  During times of uncertainty, no one has all the answers, so be transparent and admit it. Go ahead and say “We are in this together and will figure things out together” or “I am working on this issue and expect to have a plan by [date] and will debrief you by [date],” then follow through on that promise. Being transparent is key to building trust.

Be Honest and Consistent

When someone asks you a question, give them an honest answer. Don’t dance around the issues. Even if you must share bad news, your staff would rather know than not know. If you aren’t authorized to discuss a particular topic with the entire staff, be honest about it. As you develop plans, ensure that your leadership team knows what’s confidential and what can be shared. Leaked information can undermine your leadership ability, tarnish your reputation, and erode loyalty.

Reveal Your Executive Presence

Nothing uncovers your true leadership style like guiding your team through uncertainty. The way you compose yourself, your reactions to negative dialogue, and how you handle office politics will expose your ability to lead in a crisis.  Always be present and compassionate, yet decisive. And after the crisis is over, you will have gained valuable insight to carry you through the next one.

Strong leaders always seek to improve. Contact me to learn how you can grow as a leader.