The award-winning cable host shares her insights on leadership in troubling times.
5 min read
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The pandemic caused a severe blow to economies, businesses and individuals worldwide. It also quickly placed entrepreneurs in a tricky position, because they had to go from scale mode to survival mode. This is all while trying to hold onto as many clients, funds and team members as possible — and it has proven to be quite the uphill battle. As the great Robert Schuller once said, “Tough times don’t last; tough people do.” And the same applies for businesses as well.
But how is an entrepreneur supposed to act as a beacon of support when their own foundation is shaky? To find out, I had a call with six-time Emmy Award–winning news anchor Harris Faulkner. Outside of TV news and being a bestselling author, motivational speaker and crisis projects producer, Faulkner is a business owner. As she has traveled across America and around the world with her personal brand, Harris Faulkner LLC, she has been steeped in teleconferencing and resource allocation and delivery, long before the pandemic. Faulkner told me, “On Fox News, I am so fortunate to anchor two weekday network programs. And that means my side hustle cannot always be tended to in person. But it always has my personal touch.”
Here’s some of her advice for entrepreneurs to similarly continue putting their personal touch on business matters without getting overwhelmed.
1. Start with yourself
Whether it’s for family or for business constituents, you need to take care of yourself, and be the best possible version of yourself, in order to take care of others.
“Remember how you are blessed and how to be a blessing. This is not just about being happy. As humans, it’s our nature to be purposeful,” says Faulkner. “A change of scenery can also be soul boosting. But social distancing, for most of us, does not allow for a vacation far away or even hitting our favorite outdoor shops. Sunlight can help. Also, surround yourself with people who give more than they take. You will gain inspiration from them.”
Related: Top 3 Must-Haves in Your Post-Pandemic Playbook
2. Convey your best virtual leadership
Sure, we may all joke about virtual work meaning working in your pajamas, but don’t let that arrangement be an excuse for sloppiness in video conferences. Have a presentable setting behind you. Look the part. Be organized. Present as much normalcy as possible while communicating with your team.
On the topic of virtual leadership, Faulkner says, “Make sure every meeting, call or email has your stamp of excellence. Especially in this Zoom, Skype, FaceTime mode we are so dependent upon now, don’t be late to meetups! What could your excuse be? Traffic?” Faulkner goes on to talk about bringing basic leadership principles to meetings as well: “My greatest victories come when I set expectations and deadlines. As a team, make sure to hold each other accountable for following through on missions. Virtual leadership will likely be a mainstay even after the current pandemic. We should bring our best to the invisible conference table.”
Related: 5 Ways to Help Your Business Win in Times of Crisis
3. Schedule spontaneity
Don’t make the mistake of figuring that your calendar must be packed in order to be productive. There must also be plenty of wiggle room for spontaneity, because issues have a way of just popping up (Murphy’s Law is real!), or maybe you might just need to take a break before getting burned out.
Faulkner says that because her calendar is so packed, she adds an hourlong interval here and there when she’s planning. “Then, as things come up and I add stuff to the calendar or just check it for what’s next — bam! There’s a wild moment scheduled in.”
4. Make learning moments out of each step
Each team member can learn at each step of each of their initiatives. Faulkner says, “When you set a goal or expectation for a team, be clear and concise. Meet accomplishment and failure with the same messaging. What made it work? What made it fail? Even with a victory, what did you learn about doing it better next time? In failure, I ask team members to lay out a new line of attack based on what they learned.”
We don’t know what the future holds for the pandemic, but we do know that entrepreneurs would be smart to practice Faulkner’s fundamentals in an effort to support their teams while maintaining at least some degree of sanity.