Successful crisis leadership requires both emotional intelligence and a willingness to place yourself in service both to your team and the organization, in addition to agile decision-making and quick thinking.
A crisis isn’t just an opportunity to prove your mettle, though. Challenging circumstances can help you actively improve your leadership skills. If you’re uncertain about your leadership capabilities, or simply want to become a better leader for your company, consider the following tips to think more proactively about what that means, build on existing strengths and help correct any leadership shortcomings.
1. Know what being a great leader means
What specific qualities and traits do strong leaders demonstrate in times of crisis? To put another way, how do you want your team members and employees to describe your leadership style once the crisis has passed?
One key trait to shoot for is “reassuring.” Most people prefer leaders to project strong, calm confidence during rocky periods. They want to have faith in your assessments, and they want that assessment to be hopeful.
Yet too much optimism isn’t necessarily a good thing in a leader during a crisis, either. Positivity must be tempered with reality. If your workers feel like your projections are too rosy, they may lose faith in your leadership.
2. Prioritize your people
Make sure you put the needs of your team members and your customers first. Address their evolving needs and fears, and make sure they feel safe and welcome in your business, whether they’re back in the office or a brick-and-mortar store, or working remotely from home.
By that same token, resolve up front to remain flexible and forgiving when it comes to things like maintaining certain hours, working a full-time week, or needing some flexibility to address family needs, such as helping the kids with remote learning or taking care of sick family members. Extending a little grace can go a long way towards making others feel safe and increasing their sense of loyalty to your business.