Tips for Leading in a Time of Crisis

This is a time of crisis. The novel coronavirus pandemic that is gripping much of the world and wreaking havoc on economies across the globe has at least temporarily caused people in many nations to change the way they live. Many have changed personal habits and daily routines out of fear of contracting or spreading COVID-19. Others have lost jobs, businesses, or sources of income because of government regulations or changes in public behavior designed to slow the spread of the virus. A majority of people in multiple countries have had their lives altered in one way or another, and citizens are concerned about the long-term effects the battle against this disease will bring.

At a time like this, it is critical to demonstrate effective leadership both at work and at home. If you are in a position of leadership professionally, your associates may be counting on you to navigate them through these turbulent waters and bring the company to safe ground on the other side of this pandemic. If you have anxious or upset members of your household, you may be the one they turn to for reassurance and guidance. With that in mind, practicing the following strategies will help you more successfully lead the people both in your organization and in your personal life through these difficult times.

Control Your Emotions

Perhaps the most important ability of a leader in a crisis situation is to demonstrate self-control. Nothing will undermine confidence in your leadership abilities more quickly than panicking in the face of obstacles. Allowing emotions to rule reason also usually leads to the type of frantic or rash decision-making that tends to bring about dire consequences. Stay composed and govern yourself with logic and rationality. This will instill more confidence in those around you and ultimately lead to more sound, beneficial decisions.

Manage Relationships Through Open, Compassionate Communication

Dealing with people can be difficult. Personalities often clash and nerves get frayed in stressful situations. Communicating openly can also be difficult because sometimes the truth just hurts. However, one way to effectively manage the people in your life is through frank, open communication. Lack of transparency can cause distrust and suspicion to develop in others, which will make it more difficult to successfully lead them in the direction you would like them to go. Providing honest feedback and assessments of situations may not always be easy, but it will often be appreciated if the message is delivered in a sympathetic, caring way. While it is important to communicate clearly, concisely, and expediently in moments of crisis, it is essential to maintain trust among your people at a time when you will need them most. Maintaining open lines of communication, showing empathy, and practicing transparency will engender that needed trust and foster harmony within the group.

Be Adaptive, Creative, and Accountable

As leaders, it is sometimes necessary to be adaptable and creative. On occasion, we may need to yield to the sensible counsel of others; we may have to set implacability aside and seek creative ways to deal with a deluge of circumstances that force us from our comfort zone. Encourage team members to share their ideas to devise methods of tackling challenges. Be imaginative in your own thinking as well so that you can adapt more quickly to the changing landscape in which you find yourself. As a person in position of authority, you may ultimately be tasked with making the final decision on a matter, so think rationally about the best course to take and act prudently once you have made your decision. If things don’t work out well in the end, take responsibility for the failure rather than passing blame to others. A wise leader knows this will preserve more good standing with followers than holding them accountable for the failure.

Adopting the aforementioned strategies will give any leader a much better chance of adeptly conquering crises such as the one we currently face. In the realm of business, these techniques can help leaders unify their colleagues and guide corporations through rapidly evolving trials. These same methods can also typically be applied in one’s personal life to maintain peace and tranquility at home while reassuring friends or family members who are struggling with events occurring in the world.

Leadership Training for Individuals and Organizations

Are you looking to fine-tune your leadership skills? Leadership Excellence provides personalized leadership training for individuals and organizations in the greater Cleveland area. Contact us today to learn how we can help you or your team reach their highest potential.