I’ve always said, “You find out a lot about people when things get difficult.”
You find out a lot about your family when you face challenges. In fact, dealing with a crisis can be an invaluable part of a family business succession process. The family gets to see how everyone reacts under stress.
Strong leadership is important at all times – yet never more than during a crisis. Here are five things leaders can do to help their family during a crisis:
Remember – energy is contagious. When the leaders stay calm, the troops will usually follow suit. There is more brain power to solve the problems at hand when everyone can stay calm. Our ability to think and take our best action is limited when we are upset.
Think big picture
Most crises have short to medium-term impact. Help everyone remember the situation won’t last forever. Stay connected to the big picture, the long-range perspective, to not get too caught up in the short-term dilemma.
Break it into small pieces
Because it’s easy to get overwhelmed, good leaders know it’s important to identify and take a few steps at a time. Help the group think about a few first steps they can take that will make the situation a little better. Little successes often lead to big successes.
Believe in yourselves and your team
Confidence is a huge part of the battle when facing challenging situations. Great leaders express confidence in their teams. They will remind their team by saying things like, “I know we can handle this, we have gotten through this and even more in the past.”
Focus on positives
Even in a crisis there are usually many positive things the team can focus on. Strong leaders help their teams remember all the things they can be grateful for. Focusing on the positives builds more positive energy which will lead to better results.
A military veteran told me that in the service they will purposefully put teams in highly stressful situations as a strategy to help their squad bond closer to one another. A crisis, although stressful, is an opportunity that could really bring your family even closer and stronger.
Handling a crisis well is a real sign of professionalism in a family business. Be a leader and see if you can make sure these five things are happening!
Pete Walsh is a demanding, courageous and playful Master Coach in Phoenix, Arizona. He is the founder of Peak Workout Business Coaching and the Family Business Performance Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.