We have to remember, as we communicate during a crisis, that we have different audiences. Last time we talked about communicating externally, to boards and stakeholders, but we also have to communicate to our own people, our staff.
We are in an ‘infodemic’! There is so much information available today we need to be careful not to overwhelm. I wanted to spend a little time talking about leadership and management today in light of what we are experiencing. 20 degrees posted a great article about leading in times of crisis and, more specifically, leading a nonprofit in times of crisis. One element that article emphasizes is that right now, especially, nonprofit leaders must prioritize communication. This is not the time to cower or to avoid communication. Purposeful transparency right now, with your external stakeholders, and your employees, is crucial. With that said, here are a few practical tips.
Tip 1- Be Intentional
This includes being informed
Seeking out other leaders and mentors
Take 15-30 minutes and think about communication during your day
Remember, you are communicating during a crisis and, as such, you need to practice crisis management
Tip 2- Be empathetic
I am pretty opinionated, but I gave up opinions about COVID-19 a while ago. I don’t want to judge how other people are reacting to the pandemic. You need to be concerned about your stakeholders but also about your people. Everyone is handling this differently.
Let your people know you care
Solicit feedback, acknowledge the stress and anxiety
Tip 3- Revisit policies and procedures
Tip 4- Identify your Communication Czar