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  • Transcriber: Erin Gregory Reviewer: Ivana Korom

  • We think of a great leader

  • as the unwavering captain who guides us forward

  • through challenge and complexity.

  • Confident, unwavering leaders,

  • armed with data and past experience

  • have long been celebrated in business and politics alike.

  • But sometimes and certainly now,

  • a crisis comes along that is so new and so urgent

  • that it upends everything we thought we knew.

  • [The Way We Work]

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  • One thing we know for sure

  • is that more upheavals are coming.

  • In a completely interconnected world

  • a single political uprising,

  • a viral video, a distant tsunami,

  • or a tiny virus can send shock waves around the world.

  • Upheaval creates fear,

  • and in the midst of it people crave security,

  • which can incline leaders

  • toward the usual tropes of strength, confidence, constancy,

  • but it won't work.

  • We have to flip the leadership playbook.

  • First, this type of leadership requires

  • communicating with transparency, communicating often.

  • So how can leaders lead when there is so little certainty,

  • so little clarity?

  • Whether you are a CEO, a prime minister, a middle manager

  • or even a head of school,

  • upheaval means you have to ramp up the humility.

  • When what you know is limited,

  • pretending that you have the answers isn't helpful.

  • Amidst upheaval, leaders must share what they know

  • and admit what they don't know.

  • Paradoxically, that honesty creates more psychological safety for people,

  • not less.

  • For example when the pandemic devastated the airline industry

  • virtually overnight,

  • CEO of Delta Airlines Ed Bastian

  • ramped up employee communication

  • despite having so little clarity

  • about the path ahead, facing truly dire results.

  • At one point in 2020,

  • losing over a hundred million dollars a day,

  • it would have been far easier for Bastian

  • to wait for more information before taking action,

  • but effective leaders during upheaval

  • don't hide in the shadows.

  • In fact, as Bastian put it,

  • it is far more important to communicate

  • when you don't have the answers than when you do.

  • Second, act with urgency despite incomplete information.

  • Admitting you don't have the answers

  • does not mean avoiding action.

  • While it's natural to want more information,

  • fast action is often the only way to get more information.

  • Worse, inaction leaves people feeling lost and unstable.

  • When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern

  • laid out a four level alert system very early

  • in the COVID-19 crisis,

  • she lacked information with which to set the level.

  • Despite lacking answers, she did not wait to communicate

  • about the threat with the nation.

  • At first she set the level at two,

  • only to change it to four two days later as cases rose.

  • That triggered a national lockdown,

  • which no doubt saved countless lives.

  • Later, when cases began to dissipate,

  • she made subsequent decisions

  • reflecting that new information.

  • Third, leaders must hold purpose and values steady,

  • even as goals and situations change.

  • Values can be your guiding light

  • when everything else is up in the air.

  • If you care about customer experience,

  • don't let go of that in times of upheaval.

  • If a core value is health and safety,

  • put that at the center of every decision you make.

  • Now doing this requires being very transparent

  • about what your values are,

  • and in this way, your steadfastness shows

  • not in your plans but in your values.

  • Prime Minister Ardern's clear purpose all along

  • was protecting human life.

  • Even as the immediate goal shifted from preventing illness

  • to preparing health systems

  • and ultimately to bolstering the economy.

  • And finally, give power away.

  • Our instincts are to hold even more tightly

  • to control in times of upheaval, but it backfires.

  • One of the most effective ways to show leadership,

  • if counterintuitive,

  • is to share power with those around you.

  • Doing this requires asking for help,

  • being clear that you can't do it alone.

  • This also provokes innovation

  • while giving people a sense of meaning.

  • Nothing is worse in a crisis

  • than feeling like there's nothing you can do to help.

  • We follow this new kind of leader through upheaval,

  • because we have confidence

  • not in their map but in their compass.

  • We believe they've chosen the right direction

  • given the current information,

  • and that they will keep updating.

  • Most of all, we trust them

  • and we want to help them in finding and refinding

  • the path forward.

Transcriber: Erin Gregory Reviewer: Ivana Korom

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B2 information crisis requires prime minister clarity minister

How to lead in a crisis | The Way We Work, a TED series

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/02
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