I've written in support of board members and leadership many times. In my view, particularly in the nonprofit arena, board members who aren't engaged or supportive of staff are normally that way because the staff haven't brought them along. but this time I'm coming from a different angle. I know of many organisations where as soon as COVID 19 began to hit the board requested updated income projections from fundraising staff.
Think about this.
The biggest crisis to hit the world in almost a century where nobody on earth can give answers on the key questions: How many will die? How may will be infected? How many job losses will there be? What will be the economic impact?
and yet board members are demanding detailed answers to impossible questions from their staff - who at the same time were probably worried about paying their rent, caring for children and supporting elderly family members.
It's not that the income isn't important - it's about context and knowing how to lead.
The key to great leadership at any level, in any organisation is allowing your team to do what they do best by taking away distractions.
Asking impossible questions does not help Reminding people what their agreed targets are does not help Displaying any level of panic or fear does not help.
Your team need leadership Your team need clarity Your team need support
How about this Send an email to all your team saying: That you know how difficult their job is right now. That you know they are doing their best and that is all they can do. That they have your full support and trust at all times And you are going to be working with them to plan and manage a path through this crisis together.
Then: Organise a half day workshop with the board and leadership to provide a 6 month plan through this crisis. NOT I repeat NOT a list of suggestions for what staff can do to make up for lost income A plan for operating with a reduced income, a reevaluation of the current strategy (maybe move everything out by 10 months), using up reserves (this is what they are for), ways to support home workers etc
As a board ask two simple questions: How do maintain our core work? How do we make things easier for our team?
Leaders must show confidence and control, make clear decisions, support their team and don't panic.
If you don't....
Post by Kevin If we can support your organisation through the current crisis please get in touch.