Leading In A Crisis: “Do's and Dont’s”

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Winston Churchill once said, “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory; victory at all costs; victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.” The same wisdom Winston Churchill imparted while taking office back in 1940 is still significant as it pertains to challenges many organizations face today. The first step to overcoming disaster begins with good leadership.

1. Don’t Act Hastily

During a crisis is where your leadership skills are challenged the most. It is the leader’s responsibility to not only provide direction for the team, but respond to the problem in a timely manner without making irrational or hasty decisions as well. 

2. Don’t Panic

With any crisis come not only fear and apprehension, but terror and panic, so it is up to the executive to address the magnitude of the crisis before alarming the team. Additionally, a good leader must take control. While it may be impossible to control the actual problem at hand, it is the leader’s job to control the response.

3. Consult with the Experts

Because crises are unpredictable, leaders must practice flexibility in their tactics. Committing to one specific strategy will only limit the possibility of a speedier resolution. Consulting with the experts who are at the frontline of a crisis is essential when making decisions, but, it is important that the leader not get too involved in frontline responsibility as their main concern is again, setting the overall direction on behalf of the company. In fact, executives tend to lead more effectively when they are away from the action.

4. Maintain Perspective

Although mapping out the course of direction is extremely crucial as I’ve already mentioned, another important task for a leader during a crisis is to provide perspective. An executive that can tackle a situation, while retaining a sense of perspective, will successively help the organization subsist any crisis.

5. Be Pro-Active

Moreover, having a crisis-management team already in place is also a good idea in the event of the unforeseen. The team should consist of legal counsel, public relation professionals, a select few of senior leaders, and additional crisis-management specialists.

No organization wants to be caught up in a crisis, no matter the scale, however, disasters do occur, and averting the problem all together could cause more harm than good, so it is in the best interest of the executive to prepare for the unfortunate beforehand.

However, in the event adversity does strike, a leader must remember to act with discipline and confidence. Your company depends on it!