Strong Leadership in Times of Crisis

By Etheline Desir | Desir Group | LeadershipBrief.com

Our hearts and thoughts go out to you, leaders, clinicians, and healthcare workers who are risking your lives to care for the sick and stem the spread of COVID-19. We are also mindful of the people who have been affected by this unprecedented event, communities and governments around the world who are on the front line working on containment. While there is no handy playbook to guide you through this unique crisis, it requires effective leadership, fluidity, stamina, and resolve.

Though there is an onslaught of sage advice on leadership, I borrowed a few tips from Engagly newsletter that you might find helpful:

  • Exercise Leadership and Confidence – during a crisis, everybody looks to you for direction and reassurance. Projecting fear and unease will be transmitted to the team, much like a contagious disease.
  • Demonstrate Honesty – while the goal is to be positive, it is important to be realistic and tread a fine balance when stating the magnitude of a situation. Overstating or understating the magnitude of a situation is not advisable.
  • Be Decisive and Adaptable – you must be able to make the hard decisions on the fly, and change the course of action as quickly as the need arises, such as revaluating mothballed beds and triage tents.
  • Exercise Caution – decisions must be quick but measured. Undoubtedly, the current crisis requires quickly evaluating all the facts at hand and making calculated decisions about the best course of action.
  • Control the Chaos – with the COVID-19 crisis, emotions are running high, with stress and fear prevailing. It is imperative that you take control and stop the panic from spreading. Create a crisis action plan so that everyone involved is focused on the most important tasks at hand.
  • Stay Positive – although easier said than done, particularly in our current situation, keeping a game face without being blindly optimistic is important to keep the troops motivated and engaged.

Fully recognizing that it is nigh-impossible to be prepared for this crisis, we know that all crisis do eventually end. For example, in 2008, President Obama inherited the Great Recession/ Financial Crisis which appeared to be insurmountable. He surrounded himself with the foremost authorities of his time and tackled the situation head on, using it as a stepping stone to enact legislative change. A crisis is always an opportunity to acknowledge responsibility, take ownership and do better.

We wish the best to you, your team, and family.

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