Leading Through Crisis

images-1Have you ever been paralyzed by a crisis? You know what you should do, but you’re caught off guard, you weren’t prepared for what is coming. Your team is looking to you for leadership, and you aren’t real sure how you’ll get through the situation.

I remember walking through a crisis situation with a friend of mine, and I was amazed at the transformation in my friend’s life. He had been a confident leader, but this situation had left him unable to respond, unable to move.  He was stuck!

Have you been there?

Here’s the deal:  Crisis will come.  It always does. There will always be something that pushes us back, that surprises us, that catches us off guard.

John Baldoni writes about this in the Harvard Business Review, and he shares 5 things that we as leaders need to do to survive the storm that is blowing through our life. The main points are his, the comments below are mine.

#1) Take a moment to figure out what’s going on.

Assess the situation. The real situation. Don’t just listen to what others are perceiving. Take a minute to really look at the issue. Define it, wrap your arms around it.

#2) Act promptly, not hurriedly.

Baldoni writes, “a leader must provide direction and respond to the situation in a timely fashion. But acting hurriedly only makes people nervous.”  This is balance.

#3) Manage expectations.

You need to help people know what to expect, what it looks like and how it will affect them. Your team wants to know this, so you need to help them understand the reality of the situation.

Baldoni shares this thought:  “Winston Churchill was a master at summing up challenges but offering a response at the same time. As he famously said when taking office in 1940, ‘You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory; victory at all costs; victory in spite of all terror; victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.'”

Help others know what to expect.

#4) Demonstrate control.

People need to know who’s in charge, especially in crisis. Step up. You don’t have to have all the answers immediately, but it’s time to lead.

#5) Keep loose.

Be ready to respond, to adjust, to change direction, to do what needs to be done.  Be ready. Crisis often comes at you 100 miles per hour. Don’t let it knock you down.

Being able to identify these 5 things in the midst of crisis will help you lead, will help you manage and will help you navigate through the storm.

It’s coming. It always does. Be ready.

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