Crisis management is something that many leaders don’t understand. It requires more than just being charismatic, having lots of business contacts, and delegating to staff. When a real crisis hits, teams need someone to lead them through the chaos and give them a sense of stability. Someone to provide guidance and reassurance. Someone who will give them direction and clarity on what they should do when faced with adversity.
Here are four tips to effectively lead your team through a crisis.
1) Be assertive, confident, and decisive.
When a crisis hits, your team needs to know where you stand and what you plan to do. They need to know that you are not only capable but willing to take charge and make things happen. The best way to demonstrate this is by leading from the front. This means being ready to face whatever challenges come your way instead of hiding behind others to do it for you. You must be prepared to step into the role of leader and provide direction and clarity.
Managing a crisis may seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’ve never been in a similar situation before. Just remember that you are in control and you can handle this. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or an employee. In any situation, leadership comes down to two things: knowing what needs to be done and doing it.
2) Communicate with your team.
Communication (both verbal and non-verbal) is the foundation of effective leadership. Without it, nothing else matters. When you communicate clearly and honestly with your employees, you build trust. Trust is essential in any organization because without it, people won’t follow you when it matters most.
In the face of a crisis, you need to be able to listen to your staff and coworkers so that you can develop a firm grasp on the situation you’re facing, synthesize all of the facts and circumstances, and be able to clearly and effectively communicate your plan to address it. Remember to keep your tone positive and reassuring — your job is to guide your team through the crisis, not cause more uncertainty or panic.
3) Always have a plan.
Managing a crisis begins long before one actually happens. Do the research ahead of time. Gather industry data on best practices and case studies, and then use those insights to develop your own plans. Formalize them, put them in binders, and make sure all members of your leadership team are familiar with them and know where they are.
4) And always have a backup plan.
To be an effective leader you must think ahead and plan for contingencies. If you aren’t able to anticipate problems, then they will catch you off guard and derail your entire operation.
Plan for worst-case scenarios. Prepare for every eventuality. Always have backup plans so that you can react quickly and confidently to unexpected situations.