Crisis Management: An Imperative Leadership Skill
Many CEOs and managers across the world are currently having their crisis management skills tested in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is certainly an unprecedented situation that all individuals are learning to adjust to, it is crisis situations like these that reiterate the importance of this leadership communication skill.
What Is Expected Of Leaders When Crisis Hits & Are They Up To The Challenge?
In times of crisis, most of us expect company leaders to rise to the occasion and know exactly what solutions are needed to get everything back on track. Because that is a leader’s job, right? Keeping the company and customers happy no matter the circumstances.
This is a vital aspect of all management positions. Yet, the skills that are needed as part of managing a crisis are one of the most overlooked leadership skills, according to some studies.
Great leaders are those who are able to view a crisis from a big picture perspective. They put the necessary procedures in place to minimize the impact on those that matter most to the business; the employees and the customers. A leader should have the confidence to use their communication skills to deliver the right messages. They are able to take control of the situation and navigate a safe way out for others.
So, why does it take a big crisis for us to recognize the importance of crisis management?
Why Crisis Management Is A Vital Leadership Skill
Not all crises that leaders come up against are on as large of a scale as the Coronavirus pandemic or the 2008 financial crisis. In fact, it is normal to experience some type of business crisis on a daily basis. Whether that is an angry customer, an internal disagreement between team members or an upcoming deadline that won’t be reached.
That is why learning how to react correctly in these situations is a vital asset for all leaders. This is especially true when it comes to ensuring that your business doesn’t fall into chaos on a regular basis.
When a difficult situation arises, all employees turn to management for definitive answers. While you may not have a definitive answer to give them straight away, having the crisis management skills to put a plan of action in place will give them the confidence they need to follow your lead.
Unlike other inherent leadership skills, crisis management skills need to be cultivated and should be included as part of a sustainable training plan for all managers. By proactively preparing for when a crisis arises in a business setting, leaders are given the opportunity to execute on the skills needed to manage crises without the aspect of stress or pressure. So, when a crisis arises, those leaders are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to tackle the situation with clarity and confidence in a timely manner.
How To Lead Effectively During Uncertain Times
How exactly should company managers and owners be leading through uncertain times? Managing crises requires a number of skills including communication, adaptability, self-control, relationship management and creativity. Leaders must effectively use these skills to mitigate and overcome any obstacles that a crisis throws at them.
If you are looking for guidance on how to lead effectively during this uncertain time, follow these rules of thumb:
- Act Promptly, Not Hurriedly – Make sure that the decisions you make are deliberate and aren’t decided out of a need to act hastily. When decisions are made too rapidly, this can feed the nervous nature of the crisis. Be timely but also intentional when providing direction.
- Communicate Frequently – Communication is key during a crisis. The aim is to ensure you’re communicating effectively and frequently with both internal and external audiences. When you keep all parties up to date on the status of the situation and how it is being responded to, this fosters respect. Read more about why effective leadership is dependent on clear communication skills here.
- Bring Perspective – Without the bigger picture perspective, it can be easy to get lost in the panic of a crisis. As a leader, it is your role to remind your staff of what’s truly important during times of crisis. For example, during COVID-19 the main priority is ensuring that everyone’s health is a top priority even if it means having to temporarily work from home or stop operations.
- Demonstrate Control – During a crisis, it is easy for things to spiral. That is why leaders must be able to assume control over the response to the situation. You need to be able to give others directions and navigate your team in the right direction to take control of the situation.
- Be Adaptable – It is important to remember that your first response to a crisis might not be your final response. Afterall, the hallmark of a crisis is the ability to adapt quickly. It’s not always possible to predict the course of a crisis, that’s why you must continue to consume new information and listen to other’s opinions in order to adapt your crisis response to a direction that will be more beneficial for your business.
- Be Proactive & Less Reactive – While you will need a lot of reactive actions to respond to the crisis, having proactive actions included in your plan provides a way forward and clear direction for the future.
The ability to navigate your business out of a crisis situation is possible with the right set of leadership skills behind you. Dealing with a crisis is an inevitable challenge that all leaders will face at one or more stages of their careers. That is why these leadership skills should never be overlooked or left by the wayside.
Your Business Could Benefit From A Crisis Management Solution
Get in touch with our team at the Training Company today to find out more about the leadership training courses we have available. All of our training content is offered online through our custom Learning Management System that is accessible to your team anytime, anywhere.
Don’t wait until the next crisis, become an effective leader today.