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Leading Effectively During a Crisis

With constant trepidation surrounding every decision made by a leader during a crisis, anyone in a leadership position has done their research on not only how they should lead during a crisis, but how they can effectively lead during a crisis.

From scanning professional blogs to communicating with fellow leaders on strategies to implement, leaders are put in a challenging situation when it comes to managing and leading during a crisis.

Practices that were once sworn by become ineffective when an expected crisis hits, let alone when it comes out of left field. Imagine being a professional athlete who has always gone through the same pregame routine heading into competition. Now, take that athlete and put them in an environment that doesn’t allow for the same routine. Leaders go through this scenario when confronted with a crisis.

So, how can you rebound and lead effectively during a crisis?

Find Reliable Information – Seek out a trustworthy news source. It’s your job to determine the most credible, up-to-date information in a leadership role, and weed out the fake news. If you’re faced with a local health crisis, consider checking on the World Health Organization’s website, the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or what is being shared by the Food and Drug Administration.

Make Yourself Available – Leaders need to be accessible, especially during a crisis. As a leader, it’s important to let people know how and when they can reach you, whether with questions, concerns, or updates. The act of going through the crisis conjures up enough anxiety on its own. Add in the fact that a leader at work isn’t reachable to calm some of your professional worries, and that could leave colleagues paralyzed by fear. Have an open-door policy, even virtually.

Communicate and Be Transparent – When essential information is gathered or determined, it should be communicated to employees through the appropriate channels. Being transparent also helps to ease fears caused by a crisis and the unknown surrounding it. When you pair communication and transparency, employees will be able to react to a crisis with a calmer mindset knowing that their leader will remain transparent throughout.

Respond Individually – People are going to react differently depending on the situation. Just as you would with scenarios outside of work, treat each employee individually when it comes to how you respond to their needs during a crisis. Delivery can be everything when it comes to how you react and how employees receive it. As a leader, if you want to get the most out of your employees, know how to address each. If you are a strong leader, you should already have some intel on this heading in.

Plan for Future Crises – Build a sustainable business plan that could withstand any crisis that could bring about financial hardship. Create a Crisis Action Plan and allocate resources to keep a business prepared if another emergency happens in the future. This strategy will help to keep all members of an organization calm and comforted, knowing there is a plan in place.

Don’t Forget Your Support – When a crisis hits, leaders need to have others they can lean on and those who can help to keep them level throughout. Managing teams during a crisis can be trying, challenging, and downright exhausting. Leaders need support to maintain their composure and keep up with their responsibilities during a crisis.

Do you have any tips for leading effectively during a crisis? What about any experience you’ve had with a boss who has, or has not lead effectively during a crisis? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out How Do You Know When It’s Time to Quit Your Job?