Leadership in a Time of Crisis – How to Hold the Business Together

Leadership in a Time of Crisis – How to Hold the Business Together

Before COVID, there was a lot more predictability in the world. Often as a Trade or a Construction business owner, economics played a major role in determining major opportunities or setbacks for you, such as government incentives, changes in interest rate, growth of China etc.

At the moment, there is a lot of uncertainty! We live in a one-off global event that tends to take place once every hundred years. We don’t even know how long it will last for when our state borders are likely to open again, or when our nation will open up to the world again, and more importantly – what will Australia and the world look like after we come out of the other end!

According to Gene Klann, author of Crisis Leadership, “During a crisis, your goal is to reduce loss and keep things operating as normal as possible”. Now the real test of leadership does not occur when everything is running well and smooth – this is simply riding the wave, it requires good management and administration skills. However, the way a leader behaves and acts during a crisis is what defines their credentials as good leaders or not.

You may ask yourself, what’s all this leadership talk about? I simply run a small trade or construction business, so is this even relevant? The short answer is, Absolutely! And it’s more important now than it ever was before. Let me give you a few reasons why:

  • We are embarking on an unprecedented infrastructure and construction boom in Queensland’s history, and with the Summer Olympics in 2032, South East Queensland is going to be on steroids.
  • This boom will place tremendous pressure on the industry to deliver those major projects, both on time and within budget.
  • Delivering this work will require resources, and good resources are scarce!
  • Additionally, the real estate madness continues, and the sight of cranes here on the Gold Coast is endless – with units sold in most development projects before the towers are fully commissioned!

So why should you care? Simple – to win and deliver good work will require you to surround yourself with a good team. And a good team will not put up with poor leadership – cause the guys will simply have other options and firms to work for.

Therefore, to create a world-class culture and good and safe working environment for your trade business, you need to ensure you follow some of the traits that effective leaders do during times of crisis.

Trait #1: Prioritise speed over accuracy

The news, promises, situation and context is changing daily. The most effective leaders will be able to make ‘good decisions’ very quickly with the information that is available for them. In Consultya, we have a philosophy called ‘Progress Over Perfection’, which ensures you keep moving forward and avoid what’s called ‘analysis paralysis’ i.e. you wait for too long, waiting for the perfect information and the perfect decision, that nothing happens and you only fall behind. So think about:

  • Re-prioritising your strategy leading into Christmas and 2022: What is the top 3 most important things you need to achieve, and put the rest on hold.
  • Try and delegate more admin work (or think of automating admin) so that you can use your time to effectively think and plan ahead

Trait #2: Adapt to the situation very quickly

Effective leaders can change the direction of themselves, their team and their construction business very quickly. They seek input and support and are not scared of getting external help to support their new way of working. Think about:

  • Is this the right time to take your business online and automate your processes?
  • Is this the time to refurbish your website?
  • Where is the growth in the market taking place, and are you present?
  • Do you need to revisit your supply chain and where you get your materials from?

Trait #3: Don’t forget you still have to deliver a bloody good job!

Leaders who manage crises well are not scared of rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty! Your customers may be frustrated with delayed delivery due to material, or the fact you’re not responding to their enquiries or getting the quotes out quickly enough etc. Effective Trade leaders will ensure that ‘while they’re busy’ they are not losing customers and further growth opportunities in the market. Personally, the number of times I had admin ‘promise’ to call me back for a quote and not deliver are endless. I will always remember the ones who went out of their way to support a customer, even when they’ve been busy. For example, a reputable builder called me the other day and spent 10 minutes on the phone explaining to me why he couldn’t take on the renovation project. How courteous is that? Is he someone I would consider as soon as he has availability – absolutely!

Trait #4: Don’t leave your team behind

In the previous trait, we spoke about not letting go of your customers and going well and beyond what everyone else is doing. Trait #4 is about your firm, your team, your tradespersons who are out there every day doing the hard work and making an impact. Don’t forget while COVID-19 is a health crisis, it has inevitably become a financial crisis. Therefore, make sure you’re doing some of the following:

  • Connect with your teams individually and check in. Ask how they’re going and how their families are going? They could be going through an emotional roller coaster at home, and a simple how can I help you could mean the world and make a big difference.
  • You can never over-communicate. As drastic changes and policies emerge daily, ensure you’re keeping your team abreast of those changes, and what they mean for the firm and the team members.
  • Amplify positive messages and reinforcement. Celebrate successes through barby’s and team events, acts of kindness, say thank you more often etc. Delivering a good job in those circumstances can be heroic, so ensure your team is celebrated accordingly.

Remember! If you keep the 4 Traits of a good leader in mind – Prioritise Speed Over Accuracy, Adapt to the Situation Very Quickly, Don’t Forget You Still Have to Deliver a Bloody Good Job! and Don’t Leave Your Team Behind, you will foster a stronger, healthier work culture that will see your business through times of crisis.

If you feel your construction or trade business needs some extra support through these uncertain times, contact the team at Consultya on 0428 20 40 50 or info@consultya.com.au. Our experts have the right knowledge and tools to help businesses survive difficult times and thrive beyond them.

Service Location: 1/10 Albert Ave, Broadbeach Gold Coast Queensland 4218, Australia.

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