This is, no doubt, a challenging time. People across the globe are looking to leaders to get us on the other side of this pandemic. And, I know you are busy figuring out what to communicate as you try to understand the implications of this disruption on the organization’s plans, goals, and commitments (as you should be). Yes, people need information. Yes, people need a plan. And, people need to feel confidence in you

Here are a few practical tips to support you as you lead through this challenging time…

Start with you

Get a handle on things by getting a handle on yourself.

How do you honestly feel about what’s going on right now? 

Yes. Start here – with your feelings. It’s essential when leading others to remain aware of how you feel about what’s going on so you can adjust, if needed, and operate from a place of emotional clarity and authenticity.

What are the facts?

Get the facts so you can be knowledgeable and prepared to put a halt to the rumor mill, sensational myths, and begin to make fact-based decisions as opposed to emotional ones. The facts and brutal reality help people move forward.

Find your power

Identify what you can control and influenceYou may not be able to stop or fix whatever is going on around you, but there are several things you can control and influence. That’s where your power is. 

  • What am I concerned about? 
  • What can I do about it? 
  • If I can’t directly do anything about it, can I influence it somehow?

Tap into your empathy

Put yourself into the shoes of those you lead. 

  • How could my teams and employees be feeling about our current challenges? 
  • What are they concerned about? 
  • What do they want to or need to know? And, if you’re not sure – go and ask them!

Talk to your team regularly

Once you’ve been able to reflect and think, get a handle on yourself, and tap into your empathy, go and talk to your team, and keep talking to your team. And, if you’ve completed the first three steps, you can talk to your team with clarity, honesty, and confidence. 

Be authentic

Tell them what you know as well as what you don’t know.

Be inspirational and real

Share what’s important for them to hear to remain confident and engaged as well as realistic. 

Be transparent

Regularly share any relevant updates that address their concerns or information needs (even if it’s an update that there is no information to share).

Face your reality and make adjustments

Gather your subject matter experts and thought leaders who will partner with you in thinking and planning.  It’s okay if you don’t have all of the answers.

Acknowledge and thoroughly understand how your organization has been impacted. Also discuss how your organization will likely need to change to remain relevant.

Identify issues that must be addressed immediately, and make needed adjustments to your existing goals and plans.

Then, get up in the morning and Start with You!

The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way you use them.

An American Proverb

Published by

Kristy Williams

Kristy Williams Consulting is a consulting firm and strategic partner for organizations that are committed to excellence and achieving sustainable results. We work with leaders and organizations that want to foster an atmosphere where employees can operate with excellence and meet business goals, but also believe in doing so by effectively leveraging, growing, and developing their teams and leaders.


  1. Kristy, spot on! Thanks for putting together this primer. Bill Murphy Jr. did an analysis in Inc. recently of the open letter Jeff Bezos wrote to Amazon employees that is aligned with your thinking. As you’ve laid out, honesty, transparency and empathy are a good place to start.

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