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Leadership Qualities

How to Handle Leadership Crisis

Leaders must remain calm and collected to effectively gauge what is needed to be done to assuage the impact of an untoward situation
How to Handle Leadership Crisis
Image credit: Shutterstock
CEO, Leadership Management International
4 min read
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The saying 'Nothing ever goes according to plan' rings true for every leader in the midst of a crisis. Many companies draft a crisis plan to avert possible crisis, but it may still not suffice to effectively deal with the existing crisis. This is because leadership in a crisis is different as opposed to leadership in normal conditions. Leaders must anticipate every activity and accordingly draft a plan that is suitable for the situation at hand. Effective leadership abilities can help combat the crisis and manage potential liabilities that arise from it.

Here is a step-by-step process that a leader can adopt to effectively manage a crisis -

Stay Calm

Every crisis brings with it uncertainty and unpredictability to boot. Faced with ever-changing situations, the first reaction in any crisis is that of panic. Leaders are thrown into extremely stressful environments that put them through intense mental and psychological strain. In these instances, even minor decisions can result in an adverse impact on the situation. To avoid this, leaders must remain calm and collected to effectively gauge what is needed to be done to assuage the impact and avoid incoming curveballs.

Recognize Problems

Leaders must face the reality of things and recognise the root causes of the problem. Widespread recognition of reality is the first and most crucial step to problem solving. Leaders need to identify their role in contributing to the problem at hand and effectively draft a solution to manage it. Leaders cannot solve problems if they do not acknowledge the existence of them.

Stay Prepared

In addition to recognising problems, leaders must also prepare themselves for worse case scenarios. While accepting that the situation is bad, leaders must prepare themselves for when the situation goes from bad to worse. Anticipation is a key step to remaining prepared and drafting a contingency plan that'll benefit the company and corresponding parties in the event of another setback.

Take Accountability

We have all faced unpleasant situations at work and in some worse cases had to deal with a crisis. A crisis can impact everybody from an employee to a customer to a stakeholder and more. While some are barely affected, there are others that face the brunt of the crisis to a greater extent. In a leadership position it is important to be transparent. Explaining the situation to the concerning employees and being direct and honest about the crisis helps considerably. Apologising to those affected by it as a sincere apology is more valued than a mere justification of facts. Remember, to err is human; to take responsibility is divine.

Address Future Plans

When the impact is less severe, it is important to address future plans on managing the crisis and sailing the company through turbulent waters. Discussing the way forward and laying out the specifications of future plans will allow for trust to seep back into the company. Communication is key to ensure that those that are affected by it do not stray away from the company due to one calamity.

While it is not possible to completely avoid a crisis and all that it brings with it, investing in leadership development programmes is a good option that will help potential leaders to better manage a calamity in the future. Leadership development programmes help shape and direct potential leaders to effectively handle the situation with the available resources. Investing or targeting leaders to make better decisions, will have a profound impact on the rest of the company.

Not many leaders realize that in most scenarios, a crisis offers the best opportunity to change the game in the favour of the company. Taking the initiative to improve the situation while finding the silver lining in it, is what elevates an ordinary leader to an extraordinary level.

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