• Sharon Fruits

Are You A Good Leader During A Crisis?

We often feel like we couldn’t know the answer to that question until long after the crisis is over. Those working for you, however, will know this very quickly. So what are the key things you need to be doing during a crisis?

Establish Tone

First of all, you need to establish the tone that your organization will operate under. This is where the term “lead by example” becomes critically important. Demonstrate and verbalize that you and your key leaders will remain calm and develop and execute a plan to get your company through the crisis.

Acknowledge that the crisis is challenging, but reassure your team that together you will get through it. Much like the crew of a big ship will look to the captain for direction to get through a dangerous storm, you will need to become the calm captain keeping your hands on the wheel of the ship during your storm. Your crew needs to feel your calmness and constant direction.

Set Crisis Structure

Another important thing to do is to set the crisis structure quickly. Setting the structure includes assigning key duties, setting up necessary new HR related rules and procedures, setting a regular schedule for communication, and defining what is appropriate when it comes to communicating (or not communicating) with media personnel and social media.

Key duties can include monitoring supply chains or providers for potential impacts, considering alternative suppliers, preparing for shortages or delays, developing new operating procedures, cost cutting, and communicating with customers and vendors.

Communicate constantly, clearly, calmly and openly. Ensure communication is two ways. Your team should feel psychologically safe to raise any issues, questions, or concerns without feeling uncomfortable. Organizations are usually filled with Over Reactors, Under Reactors and some folks that are right in the middle. Use this diversity to your advantage to understand different perspectives and better support your employees.

Adjust Regularly

During your regular meetings with your crisis leadership team, review your plan and regularly adjust it. Most crises consist of new surprises along the way, so make adjusting for those new surprises part of your regular process and keep your risk analysis up to date as you work through the crisis.

Check In Individually

Last but not least, take the time to also have one-on-one check ins with your crisis team members to see how they are doing emotionally. Some people may need additional support during this time. You may also need extra support during this time, so reach out to other company leaders, trusted friends, or family members.


High-Performance Habits

  1. Set the tone of calm direction and assured success together.

  2. Establish the structure; assign key duties, set new HR rules and procedures, set a regular communication schedule, and define media communication rules.

  3. Adjust regularly; expect the unexpected and include a process to adjust the plan in your plan.

  4. Check in with your team members individually to make sure they are weathering the crisis well.

Copyright Sharon Fruits. All rights reserved.

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