What People Need From Their Leader In A Crisis
Being a leader always comes with enormous responsibility, but being a leader in crisis adds significance and depth to that responsibility. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose your bearings at a time when many of the usual processes and measures no longer apply, but successful leadership is still possible—and more necessary than ever.
One successful approach is to focus on the things people look to their leader to provide in a time of crisis. Here are some of the most important:
Decisiveness and purpose.
Crisis demands that you be purposeful and determined in taking the measures that will help your organization survive and succeed in the current situation and beyond. It’s a time for bold decisions that you may have to make quickly, so keep your purpose and mission close to help steer you.
A strong team.
The best leaders know they are only as smart as the people they surround themselves with. They create and nurture dream teams that can collaborate smoothly, combining subject-matter expertise with great listening skills and the ability to compile and give thoughtful feedback. If you don’t already have such a team or teams around you, start building one now.
As a leader it is important that you identify the priorities of your organization and team with the assistance and guidance of everyone involved. Build consensus so you have wide agreement and ownership—leaving room for course corrections if needed. Once you’ve established your priorities, reinforce them often to make sure they stay in the top of everyone’s mind.
Great leaders understand the importance of communication, and they know that extending their reach and transparency is more important than ever in tough times. Strong communication crushes demoralizing rumors and improves engagement.
Flexibility is a must.
The best leaders know how to be agile and flexible; they stay ahead of change by constantly revamping and reworking as things are happening. The actions that previously drove results may no longer be relevant, and new plans often have to be developed and carried out on the fly.
If you normally speak to your people once a month, do it weekly during a crisis. If you normally speak weekly, make it daily. The stronger and deeper the connections you build and maintain, the better you can keep watch on the pulse of your organization. Strong connections bring strong results.
A culture that embraces mistakes.
Especially when the stakes are high, is important to be the kind of leader who encourages innovation and risk-taking, and that means embracing mistakes and failures instead of punishing them.
A focus on the future.
The best and smartest leaders know that the past may no longer be relevant, and they don’t look back but keep their view fearlessly on the future.
Lead from within:
In times of crisis your words, actions, and demeanor can successfully guide people through or cause them to stumble.