How to Lean into Crises and Grow as a Leader
May 03, 2021
By Anna Gotsch
Though we have faced a great deal of challenge and loss over the past year, we have also seen people and communities come together in incredible ways. Whether you were outside every night at 7:00pm banging pots and pans to show your support for our healthcare workers, placing a picture of a rainbow in your window to entertain the neighborhood kids, or donating food to local food banks. We have proved that with the help of one another it is possible to get through and even grow in times of crisis.
While the COVID-19 pandemic also posed unprecedented challenges for many businesses, many leaders were defined from this crisis. A strong leader can be measured by how they respond to situations of uncertainty and ambiguity. So how does a good leader respond to crisis?
Arguably one of the most important things you can do in times of crises is to be clear. Crises often force us to make difficult decisions. Rather than trying to soften the blow of bad news, focus on being transparent and specific. It’s also important to be clear with your goals and expectations during this time. Make sure your team knows exactly what your priorities are so you can empower your organization to adapt quickly and effectively.
During times of crises, we are often bombarded with information. Information, which isn’t always truthful. Make it a priority to find reliable sources of information and clearly communicate that information to your team. Being a credible source of information for your employees will help you to earn their trust and loyalty.
Be Aware of Your Own Emotions
It’s common for leaders to become so consumed with protecting their organization that they forget to look out for themselves during a crisis. It’s important to remember that you are also experiencing this crisis. Taking care of your own emotions and feelings is crucial to being an effective leader. This will allow you to easily empathize with your team and figure out more effective solutions.
Crises force us to step outside of our comfort zone. The more comfortable you get with being uncomfortable, the stronger leader you will be. Navigating a crisis forces you to adapt and make quick, often difficult decisions. This practice will likely help you to grow and evolve as a leader.
During times of high stress and uncertainty, people want to feel validated in their feelings and emotions. Make a conscious effort to empathize not only with your team but your clients or customers as well. Being a compassionate leader will show your team that you care and will help you build stronger relationships. At the end of the day, we’re only human.