How Strong is Your Leadership During a Crisis?

Crisis management is something that leaders must face, it’s inevitable. Hopefully, it is not something that you encounter too often. When you do, how effectively do you navigate the crisis and lead your team?

The best cure for crisis is prevention. If you can anticipate problems and put systems in place to avoid them then all the better. There is no doubt that having open, honest communication with your team, along with strong systems and processes in place will prevent many crises from taking place. But it’s not foolproof; there will inevitably be a crisis that you must deal with.

It’s interesting how we think of a crisis as a negative; it usually is, particularly when you are in the thick of it. But once the crisis has passed there are a number of positives to be gained from the situation.

The following tips will help you to navigate your next crisis:

1. Look out for future leaders

You never really know how well someone will cope until they are placed in a crisis. Observe how your staff behave under pressure. Do they buckle or do they rise to the occasion? How well do they adjust to being outside of their comfort zone?

2. Be conscious of your adaptability and flexibility

It’s easier to lead when everything is smooth sailing, the real test comes during a crisis. How well do you perform? Are you still focused on supporting and positively steering your team? Is your communication still positive and empowering? How adaptable are you to the changing conditions? Observe your own behaviour. How well do they respond to your directives?

3. Hold crisis meetings with your team

Make sure your team members know what is going on and how well things are being handled. Apart from reassuring them, open communication will build trust and team engagement. It is also an opportunity to brainstorm for solutions. They are a valuable resource with a great deal of knowledge, insight and connections, utilise them!

4. Keep your communication positive

It is during times of crisis that it is even more important for a leader to use honest, open and positive communication. Your team will want to follow a strong leader who reassures them that things will be okay.

5. Reflect with honest objectivity

Crisis review is always so valuable, there is much to be learned. Do your systems need revamping? Did your staff handle the situation well? Take the time to look back and honestly review the situation. Did you respond as soon as you saw the danger signs or did you wait until it was well under way?

6. Assess your overall performance

How well did you manage the crisis and how quickly did you recover? Get genuine feedback from your team on how they think you performed and how you could improve next time. Taking a good hard look at your leadership skills during a crisis will give you the opportunity to grow. Make the most of it.

The greatest value to come from a crisis are the lessons learned for future reference. Try to view it as an opportunity to use the knowledge gained to strengthen and build your leadership skills.


Alison Vidotto is the award winning author of 22 Leadership Fundamentals; the Door to Success says Push! A leadership keynote speaker and trainer, CEO of Vidotto Group and Founder of the Australian Charity for the Children of Vietnam ( Alison has a passion for leadership and development, both within herself and in others. She writes leadership articles for the Australian Business Women's Network ( Alison has also been published in the...

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