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Four Steps to Strengthening Leadership Effectiveness During A Crisis

Forbes piece by Trevor Cartwright discusses how leadership can be strengthened during a crisis.


As you encounter your next unexpected leadership challenge, however large or small, consider the following behaviours to help you lead your team to the other side, while at the same time prepare yourself and your organization to successfully address the next crisis that comes your way.



1. Lean on your values to guide your way. During difficult or challenging times, our values bring needed clarity and perspective. They provide reliable and accurate guidance on the range of available options as potential paths forward given the circumstances. What’s more, organizational values are always helpful context for leaders when they explain to their teams the rationale that informed their decisions. For leaders, their values will always be the most reliable and consistent voice in the room. All leaders must do is give them a voice in the process of making the hard decisions that come with leading through a crisis.

2. Plan to be spontaneous The best strategic plan is one that is responsive to the reality of your operating environment. Most businesses didn’t have a section of their strategic plan dedicated to the possibility of a worldwide pandemic. Yet, every leader found themselves and their organizations standing in the middle of one.

3. Put your people at the centre

As leaders get clear on the path forward, it’s important for them to use an empathetic and fact-based communication approach to implementing their plan. During a crisis, putting your people at the centre by taking these steps:

  • Make clear what’s at stake.

  • Communicate what you’re thinking and the options you’re considering.

  • Ask for help.

  • Be visible.


4. Take time to reflect, learn and grow

A crisis can be a time to reflect on the decisions made and it’s a time to learn and grow from the decisions made.

Asking the below questions can help;

  • What would I do the same?

  • What would I do differently?

  • How will I apply this learning going forward?

Growth as a leader doesn’t happen accidentally. It is the result of frequent intentional self-reflection and honing our ability to harness the insight and wisdom that come from it. Perhaps this, at least in part, is what Churchill had in mind when he said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Read more from Trevor here.

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