How To Lead In A Crisis

There are many different types of crisis that managers and organisations have to face with many different causes presenting themselves.  Leading effectively through a crisis is all about making the very best of the situation for all concerned, recognising that the issues and problems have to be resolved in the best possible manner and with the best possible outcomes achieved.

The following steps should be followed to help you get through the issues:

  1. Be decisive. Clear and direct decisions and visual leadership are needed to remedy any crisis. The graver and more serious the crisis the less time you will have to act and the less time you will to consult as widely as you would like. You need to set up a plan to deal with the problem and then you must communicate this as widely as possible. This will reduce feelings of uncertainty amongst both staff and stakeholders around the problem – nobody likes waiting for things to happen. By being decisive you will stabilise the situation and you will then have time to sort out what needs to be done and in what order. Never hide or be indecisive!
  2. Never be afraid. Showing fear of failure in your approach will ultimately kill and positives that you are trying to achieve.
  3. Lead with compassion. Make sure that you understand the anxieties and concerns of others around you. This will make organisational healing that much easier and will create an environment where people can speak freely, hence relieving tensions and concerns. Always make personal sacrifices that show you are feeling the pain of the crisis as well as others around you.
  4. Maintain normal work routines and systems. Times of crisis are seen as times when the normal activity of the organisation is lost – this needs to be challenged and you should always focus upon “business as usual” as much as possible. This will bring back a sense of normality and help calm things down.
  5. NEVER ignore why the crisis has arisen. Never fall into the trap where you blame others or deflect issues and concerns. Be totally honest – this may be difficult but it is the only right path to take. Being defensive and confrontational will always the journey that much harder.
  6. Be optimistic and show this approach. Optimism energises groups and individuals and draws people together. Being helpful and optimistic has a strong link into increasing levels of motivation and application to the difficult tasks at hand.
  7. Deliver steady performance. Effective leaders are always steady performers despite the circumstances. Remaining steady and focused in a crisis sends a very positive message to staff groups and stakeholders. Always remember that stability under pressure shows professionalism and rational thinking, both of which are essential components in managing a crisis effectively.
  8. Personal standards are important. Be honest, be consistent and make sure that you communicate issues and progress at every opportunity. Your professionalism should deliver an effective climate of trust which is essential in getting everyone through the crisis.

Good Luck!

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