Crisis and outbreaks cause people to speculate, echoes fear and creates uncertainty. It is during these times that we look to our family, friends, community and leaders for support and guidance. Given the current situation with Coronavirus, or COVID-19, no one knows how long these lockdowns will last and has made me wonder what our leaders should (or should not) be doing.
Student society leaders have needed to take their teams in completely different directions, raising important questions as to how we keep students engaged and ensuring we’re continuing in facilitating that desired uni experience (albeit from home).
It seems like a no brainer, but this is an absolutely fundamental first step in any crisis. Communication must first start with your team – being open, honest and clear that there is a situation and it needs to be addressed. Communicate to each other that bad times don’t last forever, rather a rough patch in your leadership! As much as it sounds cliché, be a ‘glass half full’ thinker and keep those positive vibes going.
Contingency plans are your best friend in a time of crisis! It can be as simple as a few dot points written on a piece of (toilet or tissue) paper, something easy to understand and flexible to change. Schedule meetings with your team and draft the key messages, events and actions you all want to achieve when you reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
Challenging times means people want to feel a part of something in overcoming adversity. So, it is important to be open in sharing your strategies and checking in on everyone to see they’re doing okay in times of crisis. Be open to others’ thinking, feelings and suggestions they may have – all opinions matter.
Different times call for different measures so be willing to throw traditional protocols down the toilet (paper)! Being a leader requires you to take action and allows you to be fearless in the choices you make. Of course, not everyone will agree with you but at the end of the day, carrying your team through a crisis rests on your shoulders.
Embrace the challengesThe irony of uncertainty is that it is an opportunity to be creative in how you traditionally deliver your organisation/society’s traditional goals. COVID-19, I think, has actually bought everyone closer together thanks to social media and video chats (thanks Zoom!). Many student societies are looking at online podcasts, movie nights and blogs as ways to engage students – the possibilities are truly endless!
Here at BSoc, we are taking this challenge under our wing and using it to allow for a time where we can brainstorm ideas, create better events and engage our members more than ever. It’s going to be an interesting (and bumpy) ride, and we invite you to join us…