Three Ways To Lead in a Crisis
In today’s social media-driven world and instant updates, good news travels fast, but bad news travels faster. When your company is facing a crisis, eyes are watching; fingertips are ready to alert the Twitterverse of your fate. Will supporters be able to stand by your side and announce that you are expertly leading your team to calmer waters? Or will you falter, allowing the skeptics to pronounce that you’re sinking? The way you respond to the crisis at hand will not only determine you and your company’s reputation, but it will set the precedence for future problems. Three schools of thought will help you evaluate how prepared you are to lead your company in a crisis. We’ll lay them out for you and give you a question to consider so that when a crisis does occur, you’re ready to lead, not just manage your situation.
Too many times, executives fail to set people, and protocols in place should a particular problem occur. If you don’t know what to do first in the event of a crisis, then you’re already behind. The first step to the preemptive approach is designating a trusted person to manage the problem as a whole. Next, assemble a team of people who will be on the front lines supporting the crisis manager. Then, before a problem arises, they can participate in training that gives them practice for handling specific scenarios. The best thing you can do as you lead your company through a crisis is to prepare for it. Establish a play-by-play for potential crises so that you can confidently execute a predetermined response before panic and pressure set in.
Who do you trust to take the reins during a crisis?
What is a risk your company faces?
What is the first thing you would do if that happened?
Pause. Then Plan
This approach to crisis management encourages leaders to respond to a problem slowly, deliberately, and uniquely. When a crisis arises, we have a natural tendency to either react quickly or tap out. When you react too fast, you’ll make promises and take on tasks that your company cannot handle. When you tap out, you place blame on other people and deny responsibility. Neither of these responses is helpful. So, when a crisis occurs, stop. View the problem at hand as a specific event that requires you to gather as much information as possible. Determine what your stakeholders need, and then create an action plan.
Do you tend to respond too quickly or tap out when a problem occurs?
When was the last time you paused before establishing a plan of action?
While it sounds counterintuitive, sometimes the wisest response to an ongoing crisis is to do nothing. If you can be patient when a crisis first occurs and resist the urge to respond immediately, you may find that the best course of action is no reaction at all. Deciding not to act is often the most difficult choice, but it may be the wisest.
When might doing nothing be the best decision?
Who has made this choice and earned your respect?
Sometimes the three approaches to leading during a crisis are not mutually exclusive. It’s wise to prepare for potential problems and know who you can trust to take the lead on crisis management. But you’ll know the best way to implement those strategies when you take a minute and reflect on the impact the crisis is having on the people who rely on your company for a product, service, or employment. Leading with wisdom, confidence, and patience when a crisis inevitably occurs is so much more than managing the problem on the fly. You’re not alone as you anticipate leading through a crisis, contact Trinity Training and Development for support and guidance today.