Being a good leader is always challenging, but effectively managing a crisis takes that leadership to a whole new level. Every leader faces a crisis at some point in their career. Whether the crisis is the result of a bad judgment call, a failure to plan, or even a situation entirely out of your control, steering the ship through the storm takes a steady hand. Here are some tips on getting through a crisis with your organization.
Rein in Your Emotions
Leaders may face high levels of stress and tension in a crisis; however, remaining calm and not losing your composure can help you weather the storm in much better shape than if you allow your anger, fear, or anxiety to get the better of you. Remind yourself that people will be looking to you for answers, but also as an example. Approaching the situation with honesty and confidence will help to reassure your employees. If you come across as fearful or uneasy, that will spread panic and anxiety among employees. However, trying to downplay the situation and not giving it the proper weight can be just as disconcerting. Self-control is essential in leadership and even more so in the event of a crisis.
Remaining positive can help you to be more productive, and it can serve to inspire those around you. This positivity can help you keep your confidence and decision-making abilities intact. It prevents self-doubt from gaining a foothold in your psyche. This isn’t to say that you must be blindly optimistic, but keeping things in perspective is essential during this time.
Decision Making & Delegating
In a crisis, a leader must be able to make decisions on the fly. Those decisions may be hard calls to make, but being decisive can make the difference between sinking and swimming. Taking control of the situation and taking action to mitigate issues that arise is critical. You may need to delegate tasks or responsibilities to others. Also, remember that you don’t have to be the only one making decisions. Look to those with varying perspectives and expertise to help make difficult decisions. Giving employees a voice during times of crisis can unite them and let them know they’re valued team members.
Set Realistic Expectations
While you can’t give in to your fears and anxieties, you must have a firm grasp on the reality of the situation. You’ll need to understand the magnitude of the crisis and the potential outcomes. You certainly don’t want your employees to panic, but they should be aware that the situation may take time to be resolved. Making sure you set realistic expectations for the impact of the crisis can help employees understand that their persistent determination is needed to get through the situation.
Crises happen in all organizations at some point. It’s the calm and steady hand of good leaders that helps to guide them safely through the storm. And while these tips are excellent crisis management guidelines, leaders should embrace these skills in everyday situations to hone their skills and ensure they’re well prepared for actual crises.