There are times of crisis that test even the best of leaders. Wise leaders recognize this test will come, and they are prepared for it to the extent possible.
What is the role of a leader in crisis?
A strong leader will…
Plan well before the crisis comes.
He or she shares the vision and goals; but along with that, they also anticipate the risks they may encounter along the way. They create a crisis management plan. Now the fact is, it is like insurance: you may reluctantly invest in it, hoping you never actually have to use it, but it is invaluable when the need arises.
Action Step: Do you have a crisis management plan? Have you spent time with your leadership team asking the “What if” questions and resolving the problems on paper before they present themselves as reality?
Act swiftly when the crisis hits.
Once a crisis hits, there is no time to plan. It is now time to act, and a strong leader will not only act, but act swiftly. The role of a leader in crisis is to create, empower, and support the teams that implement the plan.
While we all admire a leader who will roll up his or her sleeves and pitch in where needed, what we really need is a leader who will stay focused from a high level on empowering and supporting the teams who carry out the plan.
Action Step: Have you identified the core team(s) you will need to implement the plan? Have you trained those teams for what will be required of them? Do you have a means for quick authorization to occur when needed?
Inspire, encourage, and assure the team and those affected.
Once the initial actions are taken and the immediate needs are addressed, there will be a period where exhaustive reality and realignment with a new normal must occur. It is at this point where a leader must step in to thank the teams who have worked so diligently to mitigate the situation, and to assure those affected that there is hope beyond the current circumstances.
Action Step: Are you as a leader developing a strong mindset for times like this – when you will need to transfer that mindset to those who follow you?
Rebuild for future growth.
Once the crisis and its initial mitigation are completed, there must be a time of rebuilding. It is up to the leader to, again, create the teams and supporting structure for that time of growth. Along with a crisis management plan, there must also be a rebuilding plan. Many leaders miss this step. You cannot afford to wait until after the crisis to plan for what comes after the crisis. The quicker you as a leader can facilitate the crisis management to mitigation to regrowth cycle, the quicker the upturn.
Action Step: Right now, before the crisis comes, develop a plan for rebuilding and growth. There is added value in this exercise because it gives you a zero balance point and may inspire ideas for current growth as well.
A strong leader knows they are not strong in their own right. Their individual capacity is limited. But they know that, with the right plan, action, mindset, and team, it is possible to not only get through a crisis, but to grow and thrive on the other side of it.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.
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