Perhaps you have noticed, as I have, that the general response to the restrictions being put in place generally fall into one of three categories:
- “The experts are saying how bad this is and how much worse it is going to get and I am scared to death. I will be hiding under my bed until those same experts give us the all-clear.”
- “The so-called experts must be lying to us because nothing is this bad. I will do what I have to do but refuse to do anything that cannot be enforced.”
- “I just want to do my part and this is what we are being asked to do. We all just need to put our own opinions aside and trust the experts.”
It has been fascinating to watch how people respond to the information we are all given. We all get the same information at the same time and yet seem to respond so differently. Maybe it has something to do with how we are individually impacted by the decisions and declarations being made, but one thing is clear-those who are using their platform (politicians, doctors, etc.,) to influence the behavior of the population are doing a terrible job. This crisis, like most, is as much a public relations crisis as it is anything else. Here is a truth about leading others:
Clear, accurate, compassionate communication MOTIVATES and MOVES while hysteria, condescension and the unnecessary use of force causes DISSENSION, REBELLION, and FEAR.
Which takes us to our next “Leadership Lesson From a Global Pandemic”:
Lesson # 2: People need to be led with BOTH Hope and Truth
One of the major reasons that normal people like you and me are having a difficult time knowing exactly what we are supposed to do is because the messaging being pushed on us is either all hope-“everything is going to be fine there is nothing to worry about we have it all under control” or all truth-“things are bad and if you don’t do what we say this may be the end of civilization as we know it!” The problem with both of these is that the average person understands nothing is entirely good or entirely bad.
In a moment of crisis, global, personal or something else, you motivate those around you by:
Refusing to use fear as a motivator-Hope
When you lead with both the truth of what is and the hope of what will be, people want to follow. We are currently seeing what happens when leaders fail to understand this most basic principle. If we will learn from the bad examples as well as the good, however, we will be prepared to lead with BOTH hope and truth when the next crisis comes.