Leadership always matters to an organization, but perhaps never more so than during a crisis. Do you remain calm, cool, and collected, or do you fly into pieces? Are you a source of comfort and reassurance to your co-workers, or do people leave meetings with you thinking that the ship is sinking? Everyone thinks, or at least hopes, they fall into the first category, but all too often we can fall into the second without even realizing it. Fortunately, whether you are the CEO, the team leader, or just the senior cubicle-mate, everyone has it within themselves to become an effective leader in a crisis by mastering six basic skills.
Good communication is the most critical skill when dealing with a crisis. Leaders need to be able to communicate clearly, concisely, and in a timely manner. You must be able to convey calmness while relaying pertinent information as quickly as possible.
It’s great when things go as planned, but what happens when a once-in-a-century pandemic springs up, and your perfect plans go out the window? Great leaders learn how to adapt to different situations in the event of a crisis or the unknown. They seek out new approaches to old problems and are willing to ask for advice from other team members.
Being a leader doesn’t mean you never sweat. It just means you don’t let people see you sweat. When a crisis hits, there is no time for a leader to be frantic or disorganized. Self-control is a must. If you can master self-control during a crisis, you will be much more capable of making rational decisions, communicating clearly, and working effectively to solve the problem.
In times of crisis, successful leaders will effectively manage relationships with many different people. They must do so in a friendly yet assertive manner. As a leader, you must have the ability to inspire those around you, give clear directions, and foster teamwork. Rather than losing patience and barking orders, a leader with strong relationship skills will know how to move people in the right direction while maintaining self-control.
A leader able to think creatively can embrace each challenge as an opportunity. Think creatively. In a crisis, the routine may not work. How can you utilize the unique talents of your team to innovate new solutions? Plan A is kaput, so how can you help the organization get to Plan B?
A Sense of Humor/Positivity!
In stressful, emotional times, the mood and morale of staff can turn dark and tense. Fear is contagious. If your demeanor reeks of doubt, your co-workers will react the same way, and confidence will wane. This isn’t to say that leaders must be blindly optimistic, just that a good poker face is important while you are waiting for a crisis to pass. Humor helps! A good joke, laughing at ourselves and each other, funny stories – all great ways to raise morale and remind us that we’re human.
There’s no handy manual out there that can guide a leader through every single crisis. Each crisis is unique in nature and length and requires a different approach from one used before. However, keeping these six skills in your toolbox can go a long way to helping your team weather whatever life throws at you next.
This content was originally published here.