What can we learn from crisis? Can crisis teach us about our leadership style and our business resilience?
A strong vision, courage, integrity, humility, strategic planning, team management, and focus make a good leader. Great leaders find the balance between business foresight, performance, and character. So, when there is a crisis, the team would expect the leader to use all these qualities to inspire them and offer direction.
How we respond to any crisis such as the current COVID-19, service failure, or PR damage says more about who we are and how we lead than it does about the problem itself. It is challenging and emotionally disturbing when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic is a crisis that had never happened before and was sudden. Due to its unfamiliarity and uncertainty, there is a need for effective responses and strategic behavior from business owners.
Business owners to learn from crisis and develop a fundamental crisis response plan reflecting a mindset that will maintain focus and chart the way forward.
Today let us focus on what a crisis reveals about our leadership style and business resilience.
Here are three thoughts to provoke you, two ideas to inspire you, and one item to act on!
Three Thoughts to Provoke
Number One. Communication Style
When a crisis strikes, how you address the situation is the first and most critical task. The next step is how you communicate effectively with your clients, team, and stakeholders. Poor communication can destroy the trust that you have worked hard to establish with your clients.
It is essential that you are proactive and let clients and staff know what is happening. Are you the type of person that when a crisis occurs; you shut down all communication channels. The shutdown of communication can be a red flag that your communication style is inadequate.
Kind and calm communication is critical. Here are some tips to accomplish this.
- Communicate as soon as you can.
- Communicate the scope of the crisis as well as the impact.
- Give accurate information about the situation.
- Be compassionate and transparent.
- Take ownership and acknowledge the impact the problem might have on your clients and team.
Number Two. Adaptability and Innovation
Crises can cause loss and shock to any business. What matters now is how the team chooses to look at the situation and the next steps. If they look at it as the worst thing that ever happened, they will feel demotivated, leading to the business’s downfall.
However, suppose they look at the crisis positively and optimistically. In that case, it could open doors for new ideas as well as innovations for the business.
Leonard Cohen encourages us that:
There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
It is good to see opportunities and possibilities in everything that happens, positive or negative. Learn to look for the good in every crisis. If possible, seek the valuable lessons contained in the situation. The problem will then not be a ‘setback or failure’ but a “learning experience” and the birth of a strong business and team.
The crisis is a critical time for grit, resilience, adaptability, and out-of-the-box thinking!
Number Three. Self-Awareness
Crises indeed reveal our true nature. They are a real test of our character, behavior, and tenacity. They say a well-rounded leader, whether in moments of chaos or peace, has mastered being calm and focused, soothes obsessive panic, and turns towards positive action.
As a business owner, team members and clients will look to you and decide how to behave during a crisis. Awareness of one’s emotions, calmness, strategic action, and clear communications are the keys.
A real test of leadership is how you prepare for a possible crisis and handle it when it comes, without losing your cool.
Two Things to Inspire
Number One. Denial is Normal!
Crises form part of our life. Different people react differently when an emergency strikes. Some business owners, at first, refuse to accept what has happened. Caution though, do not be in the denial stage for long. Take time to reflect on the crisis and make a crisis plan if you do not have one in place. Crises form part of our life. Different people react differently when an emergency strikes. Some business owners, at first, refuse to accept what has happened. Caution though, do not be in the denial stage for long. Take time to reflect on the crisis and make a crisis plan if you do not have one in place.
Number Two. Pause and Act
It is customary to switch into a myriad of actions when a crisis hits. But it is vital to often pause from crisis management, evaluate the situation from multiple vantage points, anticipate what may happen next, and then resume action. Crisis management should be an ongoing process.It is customary to switch into a myriad of actions when a crisis hits. But it is vital to pause from crisis management, evaluate the situation from multiple vantage points, anticipate what may happen next, and then resume action. Crisis management should be an ongoing process.
Your Action Item.
Is your business in crisis? Does this crisis impact your team members or clients?
Take some time this week to pre-write some scripts that you can use in a business crisis.
- How will you tell a client? How much information do they need?
- How will you communicate with staff? Email, phone, text?
You will need to incorporate empathy and plan on genuine conversations.
What lessons have you learned while running a business during a crisis?
Could you share it with me in the comments?