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LEADERSHIP IN TIMES OF CRISIS: HOW TO LEAD EFFICIENTLY

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

In today’s time of COVID – 19 Pandemic, you realise that in your journey as a leader you may be in a situation where it is extremely difficult to take a decision as it may turn out to be incorrect.


Often when faced with a crisis, leaders invariably find themselves in the midst of a stressful and tense atmosphere and that is when the real test of leadership occurs and not when everything is smooth sailing. There are sometimes enormous mental, physical and psychological pressures that leave you agitated. It is always how a leader behaves and acts during a crisis that establishes their credentials as a good leader or a poor one.


Very often, the unpredictable nature of crisis means that leaders have no time to anticipate or prepare but everybody looks to a leader for the next step or for reassurance. It is at this stage that one of the most important things a leader needs to do is to be honest and show confidence. It is absolutely necessary for leaders to look like they are masters of the situation. Employees will look upto someone they can rely on, not someone they need to reassure.


But confidence alone is not the only thing leaders will need to display during times of crisis. Honesty is as important and a key as well. There will be an urge to state that ‘everything is going to be fine’ but it is important for leaders to be realistic and truthful.


Leaders will also need to be decisive and adaptable as they will be expected to make quick decisions or hard decisions. It is therefore seen that leaders who are willing to take quick actions, who are often decisive and who are open to adapting quickly to suit the needs of a quickly changing situation and who are agile are going to have more success.


It is in times of a crisis that a leader needs to take charge of his thoughts, emotions and the way he deals with problems. Over a period of time, good leaders become adept at exercising self-control. In an immediate crisis, a work environment can very quickly devolve chaos because of all the emotions running high and with stress and fear being at the forefront. It is therefore imperative for a leader to take control and stop the panic from spreading. In fact, this is often the first thing a leader has to do when news of a crisis breaks and also might involve quickly delegating tasks to the team or simply bringing a room to order.


A crisis should never be an excuse to throw caution to the wind, and risk it all. Instead, leaders have to be not only quick but also measured in their approach and should quickly evaluate all the facts at hand and then make a calculated decision on the best course of action.


Positivity is the fuel for productivity. In a time of crisis, you can choose to either get caught up in all the negativity that surrounds you, or you can choose to remain positive about it.

Your team is  often looking to you for guidance and constantly observing your demeanor, attributes and overall preparedness for tough situations. Leaders who often need to solicit and brainstorm with their team in critical situations normally have the ability to transform potential complainers into smart problem-solvers, positively influencing overall team productivity.


Your subordinates, co-workers, peers may feel scared themselves in a crisis and fear is contagious so if your demeanor exhibits fear it is important that you quickly understand that you cannot afford to project yourself as someone who is unsure of his ability to lead or is falling short on confidence.


it’s normally the tough times that separate the mediocre leaders from the ones who are truly good. It’s during the moments of crisis that your leadership abilities are truly put to the test and it is always that good leadership is often understood to be synonymous with smooth sailing.


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