Our Risk Management team recently participated in a webinar organised by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC). The objective was to provide thoughts and guidance to help us navigate these uncertain, unknown and unsettling times as best as we can by being cognisant of both our people and business needs. Our notes and practical takeaways are as follows:

One definition of ‘resilience’ is how much stress you can absorb and stay functional. There is only so much your body and mind can take and therefore it has to be managed appropriately.

A state of ‘deliberate calm’ is required throughout such crises and challenges such as the one we face just now. 

As a leader, you need to consider how are you showing yourself to the business? You should LEAD:

  • Look like a leader
  • Empathy
  • Awareness
  • Deliver

People who work better in a period of uncertainty are those that can focus on the important and can prioritise.

  • Key to this is the ability to step back and have moments of calm, thought gathering and planning

The University of Chicago identified eight key leadership behaviours to be successful during a crisis:

  • Manage your own stress so you can help others manage theirs.
  • Display a calm demeanour, which is why stress management is so important.
  • Have honest, truthful, frequent communication with your staff. ‘I don’t know’ is an ok answer sometimes.
  • Make decisions and take action, you will never have enough information.
  • Take time to reflect before you act, even for a few moments.
  • When possible, engage others for their opinions.
  • Be visible, even when you can’t be there in person, schedule regular virtual gatherings.
  • Be realistic and optimistic at the same time.

During a period of uncertainty, people want to know three things:

  • What happened and what is happening now?
  • What does it mean to me?
  • What are you going to do about it?

As leaders, a key question to challenge yourself on is ‘What do we want people to say about us (as leaders, as a firm) after all of this?'

  • Were we clear, honest and fair? Or were we unfair to staff, clients and not visible to the external market?
  • Have in place key principles and base your decisions against them.
  • Ensure aligned messaging across the senior team.
  • Be compassionate – ask ‘How are you?’ not in a work context but ‘How are you?’

Celebrate success where possible – new contracts, client wins or continued service provision.

Ultimately, though, trust your teams and staff to handle the complexity and uncertainty of the situation.

More information on this can be found on the Scottish Business Resilience Centre’s website.