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leadership in times of crisis

How Effective Leaders Handle a Crisis

Blog #235

“It is not our stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Dr. Hans Selye 

We are in some scary times. As humans, we tend to revert to a herd mentality – we are easily influenced by the behaviors of others, often without any regard for our own feelings and behaviors. For example, there has been a rush to buy toilet paper in places like Costco and Walmart. Why, though? The virus has almost nothing to do with toilet paper, yet the herd started to clean out the inventory. Each of us (on occasion, at least) overreacts to the small stuff, often without realizing it. In our current situation, hyper-focused people became scared and overreacted. There have even been reports of fist fights over hand wipes and diapers. It’s become a crisis, and people are not being logical. They are scared.

The reality is that most people, when scared, begin to act more like two-year-olds who have tripped on the sidewalk – the child looks up to the adult to see how they should react. It could be shock and fear, leading the child to burst into tears; or the reaction could be a reassuring smile and confident word to brush it off, resulting in minimal drama.

How are most people handling this worldwide challenge in the workplace? In many cases, they are afraid and are looking to the leaders to see how they are reacting. Remember, the energy and approach leaders take with their teams can set the tone for an entire department or company. This isn’t to say that you should not acknowledge the challenges ahead, but how you approach them is what will make the difference.

As leaders of organizations, it is critical to be proactive, not reactive, especially during a crisis. I say that a lot, but it is times like this when it becomes even more critical to lead and inspire your teams. To do this, you first need to take the time to rise above everything, breathe, and get a bird’s eye view.

With a global perspective, calmly and intently build an outline with your team of what it will take to:

  • Stabilize the day-to-day operations and communicate with your team and customers
  • Assess what it will take to survive and execute a new plan
  • Maximize your team and leadership skills by making decisions and implementing your plan

Remember, with great disruption comes great opportunities. How can you pivot to see the silver lining of a crisis?

This does not dismiss or minimize any of the hardship that is to come during this crisis. We are going to see some rocky times; however, I believe we are also going to see some of the best of humanity. Where this ends up, I don’t know, but I do believe it will be interesting.

Are you looking to lead more effectively in times of crisis? Do you want to learn how to become a proactive leader? We can help with that! Contact us today to find out how.

Keep Smiling,