Leadership During a Crisis

It’s been proven scientifically and anecdotally that having a growth mindset is among the top traits that successful leaders share. Keeping an open mind and staying flexible are pillars of entrepreneurial growth, and will go far to help leaders strike balance at work and personally. Your leadership during a crisis is reflective of your ability to adapt and persevere, and doing so allows your business to have continued success and growth. There’s also much to be said about maintaining habits that continue this growth mindset during truly turbulent times of crises. 

As all corners of all organizations have witnessed from the impact of COVID-19, the economic landscape can shift daily. When you have a team that looks to you first during the decision-making process, recall some important fundamental leadership skills that provide all parties with the opportunity to grow and learn.

Embrace Ambiguity & Adjust Expectations

All of the schedules you’ve developed over the years, the routines that help keep you motivated, the processes you’ve automated? Be prepared to throw that all out the window. When you’re on a day-to-day basis when it comes to running your business, there’s no possible way to forecast everything. Try not to get bogged down by the details and embrace your employees to do the same. Offer more solutions (and acceptance) to find the autonomy to invest in their own professional growth during challenging times.

Even as a leader you’ll never have all of the answers. When you admit this to yourself and to your organization, you’ll have an easier time aligning expectations with the realities. Update everyone consistently and as often as possible, reaching out through the channels that you know are accessible to your employees.

Take the Stage

You’re generally in the spotlight, but during crisis situations, that light is bright and hot. Everything you do will be scrutinized and amplified; your words, actions, body language — all of it. This is not “business as usual” and if there’s ever been a time to go above and beyond, that time is now. Your team will take their cues from the top, and emotional intelligence and empathy are integral for business success.

Fast-track your self-awareness by staying positive, too. This can be difficult when you’re trying to create a culture of optimism, which is another reason to carefully curate your presence and responses. Be wary of yourself, your limitations, and especially your strengths to help create solutions to problems you may never have imagined as a leader.

See the Bigger Picture & Plan, Plan, Plan

Leaders, by their very nature, have the innate ability to see the big picture and flesh out the impact before others. Tap into that skill during a crisis to take a step back, observe the situation, and get comfortable with a handful of outcomes you haven’t yet predicted. That will also give you the time and energy to prioritize tasks based on urgency.

Once you have a big-picture look at things, create a few different plans based on your idea of success. Make it easy for the entire team to understand and allow plenty of room for flexibility. Remember that growth mindset — things will definitely change so don’t focus on limitations but instead, solutions.

Engage with the Community

There are plenty of ways to interact with your community even when in-person events and meetings aren’t an option. Staying active and informed in the conversations that are happening around you will help build a sense of trust and transparency. You’ll also start to understand what your community needs so you can find a way to give back. 

Apply this relationship management strategy to your professional community, too. Create a virtual support system of local leaders, entrepreneurs, and consultants to help problem-solve and consult when you need expert guidance now or in the future. As the world slowly starts getting back to work, these relationships will be channels for your business to utilize.

Call in Some Help

Again: Even leaders don’t know everything. Even if crisis management isn’t new to you, disruption can catch even the most prepared entrepreneurs off guard. Reaching out to a coach or mentor when you don’t have the important answers gives you perspective when it’s hard to be objective. This too shall pass, and a coach can quickly and expertly lay out a plan of action based on your business and personal goals.

With private coaching, you can receive help with putting together step-by-step strategies and plans of action for handling specific issues as a leader during times of crisis. Every day presents a new challenge and you need to be prepared to thrive under pressure. To learn more about executive coaching and how we can help you weather a crisis, get in touch.