Leadership In Times of Crisis

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Leadership In Times of Crisis


The unpredictability of crises means that there is no telling when they will happen, and for how long they will endure. Thus good leadership is often tested and therefore most apparent during a crisis. It is important for leaders to be prepared for anything at a moment’s notice. To be an effective leader, you must equip your team with a clear idea of the circumstances, a plan of action, and tools to help them execute the plan. Lastly, ensure you provide support throughout whatever comes their way. 

Be a clear communicator. Periods of uncertainty can create lots of confusion, so convey the situation in a concise and easily digestible manner. Construct the narrative so that it is grounded in reality but also hopeful. While it is vital that your team has a clear grasp of what is happening, it is just as important to speak to them with empathy and optimism. 

Be honest. Your credibility hinges on your expertise and dependability, but there will be times you won’t know what to do or will require further expertise. It is acceptable to be transparent about these moments as long as you have next steps – for instance, you may decide to call on professors, policymakers or scientists to help you reach an informed decision. 

Manage stress – both yours and theirs. Your team will be counting on you to make well-informed decisions in a calm and deliberate way. A display of panic may exacerbate existing anxieties, so ensure that you take a moment for yourself to fully absorb the situation in front of you before you make any public announcements. Of course there will still be concerns and worries to manage, which you can do by answering any questions your team may have, delegating tasks or simply even just bringing the room to order. Keeping everyone focused amidst the chaos is a key ingredient to being a great leader. 

Be decisive and adaptable. A cornerstone of effective leadership is the ability to take action when others cannot, to make the hard decisions when others cannot. Equip yourself with the tools to make decisions quickly, whether that be through smoothing out systems and processes or having advisors on-call. Be ready to make changes at any given moment. Try your best to reach a decision that benefits everyone, but know that you cannot please everybody. 

Provide a forum for feedback and support through regular communications. Communication is a two-way street. Provide a space for your team to leave feedback about the new changes so they can see that you are taking their opinions into consideration when you make decisions. Support them by checking in on their wellbeing and progress to show that you will be there for them as they are there for you. 

Practice what you preach. Your team wants a role model to look up to. Set the standard by doing what you are asking them to do.


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