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5 Leadership Methods to Combat Crises

Published date: 2020/04


Multiple sources are offering multiple versions of the future we will inherit from the COVID-19 pandemic. One thing that commentators can agree on is that the global business ‘normal’ is going to radically alter. Some changes will be uncomfortable, some will be costly and all of them will require strong leadership to transition effectively.

Leaders can, and must, view these adversities as an opportunity to improve their crisis-management abilities, harness rather than repress natural anxieties and focus their teams on working towards new avenues of growth.

Here are five of the key methods for leaders to combat and conquer a crisis:

1. Stick to the Facts

Your actions and instructions should be borne out of an understanding of the objective facts and data underlying any crisis. Of course, it’s natural to incorporate learned opinions into your decision making, but limit this where possible. Stick to reputable sources dealing in proof and verifiable evidence such as the World Health Organisation and maintain clarity in your judgement with a healthy, regular dose of realism.  

2. Pivot Where Necessary

Feeling busy is a source of comfort and maybe even distraction for both you and your team, but it is a leader’s responsibility to question the effectiveness of that activity. During a crisis, the best use of time is often subject to frequent change and it requires pragmatism and strength to appreciate the need to pivot and adapt.

3. Delegate and Enrich

Each person was brought into the team for a specific purpose, with something unique to bring to the table. Don’t let a period of adversity lead you into the trap of micro-management or worse, taking over functions that ordinarily wouldn’t be in your scope. Trust your people to deliver what you know they can, provide the space for different skills to complement each other and create richer solutions and ideas.  

4. Listen and Understand

Listening to concerns from your people is not merely a tick-box exercise that needs to be carried out in the course of management. In tough situations, it is an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of how they’re coping mentally with external pressures, how you can adapt to improve happiness and how you can improve productivity. Use these conversations to convey empathy and a genuine curiosity for their wellbeing.

5. Move Steadily

With disruption and change comes readjustment, which means a period with everyone operating below their usual optimum as they familiarise themselves with new circumstances. It’s crucial that you afford yourself and your team the time to get back up to speed without the pressure to rush this and compromise quality. Start with achievable weekly goals, support individuals to do their part within that and rebuild expectations gradually.


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