Companies take vastly different approaches in communicating with employees during a PR crisis. Usually, when referring to great leaders, most people think about people who are brave, decisive and smart, but according to research, there is just one single quality that stands out, and that’s emotional intelligence.
Most of the leaders that people believe to be great are people that can be empathetic, reassuring, and honest during a crisis. These characteristics enable these leaders to create a positive climate in the workplace environment, no matter what might be happening, but especially during a crisis.
Inside a company, those looking for effective leaders are looking for people that have both social and emotional competence. As we mentioned, this is especially important during a crisis, where the business has to navigate through ambiguous or uncertain situations. These are the people who have a growth mindset, and are focused on solving the issue at hand and create new opportunities for the company.
These leaders can draw on their wide array of skills to promote a positive work climate and meet their employees’ needs, by providing connection, security and trust during uncertain times. They do all this through communication. Communication with the employees is key, especially during a PR crisis.
In situations like that, staff members need to hear from their leaders, and they want to hear from them often. In the past, we’ve seen many company leaders who have been silent during difficult times be strongly criticized by their own employees.
However, the company’s leaders shouldn’t communicate only through formal communication channels: they should check in with them in an informal way, too. That way, leaders can find out if the morale of employees is decreasing and offer them ways they can cope with the stress. Checking in with employees during meetings, picking up the phone and giving some of them a call, or simply sending them a personal message are all more than enough to make sure employees still benefit from a social connection.
Leaders should also make some space for staff members to process their feelings and the stress that’s caused by a PR crisis, and let them know that their voices matter. When employees are able to freely express themselves during difficult times, they have an easier time working through the stress, being transparent with their managers, and that builds the employees’ trust with the business in question.
No matter what the business is going through, leaders should let employees know that the company is always looking out for their well-being.
Perhaps that means meeting them in the middle and decreasing some of the workload, or working around their schedule. Or it could mean providing them with more opportunities for growth in the workplace. Whatever it might be, great business leaders are always there to help their companies and employees successfully navigate a PR crisis.
Strong crisis PR agencies include Sitrick PR and 5WPR.
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