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    Can CEOs Lead Selflessly Through a Crisis?

    They do. Well, at least some of them. CEOs and other executives consider they’ve seen enough to judge whether remote work is working. But the verdict depends on whom you ask.

    More recently, we’ve seen executives step up to encourage their employees during this “new normalcy” by agreeing not to lay off staff – even those who cannot go into work.

    So, what they do at this time to support their teams, and how can they be sure that their giving will be successful? Efficient measures fall into three categories: receiving the same hits as your team, sharing with a large purpose in mind, and being aggressively honest even when it’s difficult.

    How to take a hit?

    Self-sacrifice isn’t just about the organization doing what is right. CEOs asking employees to sacrifice would have to do the same. If you expect your organization to behave safely, you as a employer should behave safely. If your people have to go down into trenches, you should be there with them as well.

    Of course, not all of us are CEOs who can make the decision to keep employee’s paychecks coming or give up our salary for a year. Yet, there are plenty of ways to sacrifice for your staff. Small gestures such as ordering lunch to be sent remotely to your team during a zoom meeting can work wonders in maintaining the morale of the team.

    As a leader, sacrificing along with your staff means that they will be much more dedicated to staying with the organization during and after a crisis. And, taking into account the expenses of staff turnover, this can mean the difference between recovering from the pandemic – or not.

    Share with Purpose in Mind

    Many companies are providing their employees with free services like free virtual tours or free learning tools for kids. Similarly, we’ve seen companies step up to help provide resources needed to battle the impact of the pandemic.

    Companies like Ford, Tesla, and Medtronic have shut down factories in order to make ventilators, allowing anyone to use them for free. Yet, whatever they give, it’s important to connect sacrifice, mission, vision, and your company’s value so that everyone can understand why you are doing it.

    How to be aggressively transparent?

    Sure, you can hire a virtual assistant and let them handle most of your employee-CEO communication while you’re focusing on more important business matters. The thing is, your employees are an important business matter as well. Besides explaining why you’re making a sacrifice, as a leader , you should be honest about what that sacrifice actually demands.

    If you’re openly donating 10% of your income to a nonprofit organization, you should explain what the nonprofit is and what exactly is happening to that money. Even when we’re not facing a crisis, 84% of employees think companies are not doing enough to create transparency. However, that comes at a cost to the company.  One study shows that companies that are much transparent had been more lucrative, innovative, and retentive than those that were more opaque. As such, increasing transparency can, in fact, build trust.

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