The importance of a collaborative, dynamic organizational culture cannot be overlooked as a prerequisite for effective crisis leadership. As we have learned, in most organizations, it isn't a matter of if a crisis will occur, but a matter of when. Thus, leaders most work hard from Day 1 of their appointment to build trust, including openly communicating with constituents, being intentionally transparent, and displaying strategic vulnerability. In doing such, a leader begins to form a close-knit team of individuals around him or her that will serve as a sort of allyship when a crisis arises.
The necessity of a team cannot be overlooked in a crisis; thus, it is imperative that organizational leaders emphasize the importance of a team prior to a problem ever having an opportunity to rare its ugly head. Let's examine why a team is so important, and some strategies for team-building as an antidote to a crisis.
Why a team?
As we begin the discussion of why teams influence the success of any organization, we must first clarity a few assumptions that are foundational to the work. First, inclusiveness is the precondition for respect (and, consequently, engagement) within any organization. Inclusiveness honors the individuals who make up an organization, and teams within the organization, thus valuing diverse backgrounds, experiences and expertise. Further, it creates a sense of belonging. When people feel that they a part of something greater than themselves, they are more readily able to reach their full potential as their contributions are valued and rewarded in some way, shape or form. It is also worth noting that inclusiveness cannot simply be stated in an organization's mission, vision, or expressed values. Inclusion must be demonstrated by behavior, not intention (Helgesen, 2020).
We also know from experience that a team is only as strong as its weakest link. Consequently, it behooves a company to acknowledge different kinds of support and leadership capacities within the organization in order to impact the success of the whole. When individuals are empowered in this way, they impact the success of their teams. And when teams are empowered, they impact the organization in its entirety. Now, I don't know about you, but going into a crisis, I would prefer to have empowered, high-functioning teams with a sense of belonging and commitment to the work we have set out to achieve. It's one less fire to focus on when push comes to shove.
So, how does one cultivate a team? That isn't a question we will answer in depth today; however, if you are looking for ideas, please submit your request below. I will reach out with a personalized list of options based on where you are in your leadership journey and the current state of your teams.
Linger a Little Longer:
1. Examine the current state of your teams. Are you well-equipped with the allyship you would desire in the face of a crisis?
2. Assess the leadership capacity and sense of belonging of your teams. Where is there room to grow?
3. Consider submitting the form below, providing your responses to the questions above. Where can we support you as move forward in your team-building endeavors?