Leadership self management during a crisis (part 2)

You will need to know how to manage your SELF before you can manage others. To succeed in a crisis, you will need to have a blueprint for success. 

This blueprint should include this 3-step process:

• The right attitude 

• A strong assessment of the situation 

• Simple focus and vision 

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail:

Leaders have the right attitude in a crisis

Having the right attitude in a crisis allows a leader to rise to the situation. It gives them the freedom to take a look at things from a different perspective. In each crisis, there is on opportunity for greatness. Finding that greatness will require a leader to have a positive attitude. Having an open mind allows leaders to see possible solutions. 

Being in the right frame of mind allows a leader to adapt. This releases creativity that helps you improvise, and make sense of the chaos. Having a positive attitude provides hope and reassurance to the rest of the team.

Each leader that goes through a crisis has a potential to turn that crisis into a time for success.

Leaders lead by example 

Before asking others to sacrifice, first volunteer yourself

Crisis is the real test of a leader’s character. Everyone is watching to see what their leader will do. Will they stay true to their values? Will they bow to external pressures? Or will they confront the crisis in a straight-forward manner? Will short-term rewards seduce them, or will they make short-term sacrifices in order to fix a problem? These are simple questions that can have a huge impact on success in times of crisis. 

During a time of crisis, it’s expected that some sacrifices will need to happen. A leader needs to be the first one to step up and sacrifice if necessary. This will demonstrate that they are willing to do what is hard. Then it is more likely that the rest of the team will follow the example.

The team wants to see you working hard and making personal sacrifices to pull the team through it. But they will watch you carefully for signs that you are nervous or scared. Gritty, realistic confidence goes a long way.

A leader needs a strong assessment of the situation

The first thing that any leader must do in a crisis is to assess the situation. It is imperative to get quality information and encourage everyone to become truth tellers. Often a team will create a culture where telling the truth can get you into serious trouble. This type of culture can prevent a leader from getting accurate information. Worse yet, they may end up with no information at all. This happens when people are fearful of the reactions from fellow workers or from management.

It’s vital for the success of everyone to get clear, concise, and accurate information at all times when in the midst of the crisis and during the recovery period. Leaders will need to learn to calibrate their expectations for recovery in a crisis. Be prepared for the long haul. It’s common for a leader to misjudge the severity of the impact the crisis. It can have long term lasting effects on their team. This can cause leaders to miss the mark in terms of corrective actions. As a consequence, they wind up taking a series of simple steps. None of which is powerful enough to correct the downward spiral.

It is far better for a leader to anticipate the worst and get out in front of it. If they restructure their team for the worst-case scenario, they can get their team healthy. Then they can focus on the turnaround period and then take advantage of situations that present themselves.

Get a simple focus and leadership vision 

The best way to produce a feeling of stability and security is to have a strong compelling short-term vision. Make it short and to the point. It should be clear, concise, memorable, and not wordy. Some examples of this could be “as always, the client is first” or “its business as usual.” Once there is a solid, short-term vision that everyone can follow, it will need to be promoted nonstop. Keep in mind that each person will have different capacities for stress is necessary in turbulent times. Without this knowledge, a leader can make errors in judgment that will cost the team.

Simple – less is more. What you focus on is what you will become; if you have a simple focus you’ll get more done.

Clear – make it easy to understand. Don’t make things complicated. Do one thing at a time because people get overwhelmed.

Future focussed – look forward not behind. If you look behind, you get the same thing over again. If you look ahead, you’re looking for hope. Shift your mind-set from what is happening to “what I need to do to get my business going.”

Believable – you have to believe that this situation will change for the better. Believing in change gives you energy and frees you to focus in the right area. Otherwise, your mind will play tricks on you. Then you won’t get your brain to open up to possibilities. Now, fast-forward to the future. Imagine that you are sitting over coffee with a friend. You say, “remember when we were in the throes of that crisis?” Notice how your brain shifts. By using this mindset tool, you can help improve your focus.

The power of a positive mindset

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the hype of it all, that we lose sight and forget where reality is. As bad as any crisis is, you can do all the right things and be in a good place when it’s over. Move forward and remember that your mental mindset is more important than the reality of what is taking place. You can’t control what’s happening, but you can control how you think about it.

The best way to look at a crisis is to consider it as a test of your leadership abilities and skills. By thinking of it this way, your mind will be open and available to find new resources. Resources will help you avoid the feeling of being overwhelmed. This technique of mental re-framing allows a leader to rise to any challenge. It’s effective, and it is a necessary step to success during a crisis.

In our next blog part 3, Leadership of others during crisis – managing staff & clients, (insert link), we will discover more important information and techniques about the soft skills that are required to better help your team and clients through a crisis.


You may also like