Leadership in Crisis
In every company there are times when everything goes wrong. Leadership in such a situation can make the difference between success and failure and thus the survival of a company. Leadership in a crisis must be strong and assertive, because indecisiveness and passivity only exacerbate the problem. But at the same time, leadership in a crisis must be empathetic and engage employees.
In this article we present some basic principles of good leadership in a crisis.
1. Leadership in a crisis needs a plan.
When confronted with a crisis, a leader needs to be able to quickly assess the situation and come up with a plan. Leadership in crisis means solving problems, and this requires careful planning. Responsibilities need to be identified, resources allocated and short-term milestones set. Only with a good plan, you can focus on solving the problem without losing sight of your goal.
2. Be open and honest with your team.
The last thing a team needs in a crisis is to be uninformed. Dishonesty will only hinder your ability to lead effectively and gain the respect of your team. The same goes for blaming. Avoid blaming individuals for problems and focus on what needs to be done as a team to solve the problem. If you have to point the finger at someone, make sure it is only directed at the problem and not at the people involved in solving it.
3. Inform everyone about what is happening, even if it seems to be bad news.
When you disclose all information, it boosts morale and gives your team confidence. It can be helpful to appoint a spokesperson – but definitely make sure everyone in the team is aware of key happenings, especially if it impacts them.
4. Encourage your staff to do their best during this difficult time.
Your team will be working overtime to get things back on track, but it is also your responsibility as a leader to make sure they don’t overextend themselves. It can be very difficult to keep staff motivated if their workload suddenly increases during a crisis. So do what you can to boost morale and make staff feel that they are still valued.
5. Offer support to those who need it most.
Everyone will react differently in a crisis situation. While some people thrive under the pressure and do their job well, others struggle with stress or feel overwhelmed by the extra workload. Take time to talk to those who need it and offer support where you can.
6. Realise that not everything will go to plan, but don’t let that stop you from taking action.
Crises are about making lightning decisions and adapting to the situation. Don’t dwell on the fact that everything has to go perfectly, but focus on what you can do now. The most important thing is that you act quickly to solve the problems as they arise.