Leading Through Crisis-6 Elements

man helping a player with the injury during the game

Part 3/Leadership Principles-cont. Part 2

Last time I went into some detail the 1) Leadership Is Influence, 2) Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership, and 3) How We View Things is How We Do Things.

With those three general leadership principles in mind, what are some of the key elements of leadership during a crisis?

Key Leadership Crisis Element 1: People First

As a leader, it is not about “me,” but about you. In any crisis, safety is a key element for people. While we may not always agree about the decisions made for us by others, they are made with global safety in mind. As leaders focusing on people first, we lead with service, lifting others, and love. We will get through any crisis with people and become better because of people.

What people can you put first in your life?

How can you better lift others?

What people are you surrounding yourself with to elevate your leadership?

Key Leadership Crisis Element 2: Educate Yourself

Understand what the real issue is. Understand what is under your control and what isn’t under your control. Find the best minds and wrap yourself around their thoughts. There is a lot of information being shared, some good and some not so good. There certainly is more bias in the media than ever but go to those sources you can trust.

There is much misinformation out there. The ink isn’t dry, and the so-called experts want to get out the information first, which can often be detrimental to recovery efforts. I don’t know if ChatGPT has made that better or not.

When John Maxwell put his “Leading Through Crisis” virtual summit together, he spent a lot of time educating himself. Obviously, I have, too. It is never too late.

How can a leader keep learning during a crisis?

Is reading a personal development book part of your professional development plan?

Photo by Ivan Samkov on Pexels.com

Key Leadership Crisis Element 3: Be Flexible

Amongst all this uncertainty and change, being flexible is critical. Change requires flexibility. Maybe not as flexible as in the picture, though.

John Maxwell writes in his book, Leadershift, that being flexible and fluid, with a Plan A, B and maybe C, is vitally important. Leaders must deal with change. Leaders must be flexible and be able to shift.

We will never be able to plan for every possible scenario, but we can learn a lot from the change that comes at us and others.

What have you done to shift your leadership during a crisis?

What do your crisis management plans look like? Do you role play them?

Key Leadership Crisis Element 4: Leverage Your Team

Every one of your team members, whether it be at home or work or church or in your backyard, brings a different and beneficial perspective. Utilizing the strengths of your team will bring out the best.

More often than I care to remember my dorky ideas got improved into better ones through utilizing the strengths of my team. Ask your team what they would do. Ask your team how you can help them. Don’t let physical distancing get in the way of relationships. Leverage strength.

How are you combining your team’s strengths to move your business forward?

Do you truly know your team’s strengths and how they can complement each other?

judge signing on the papers
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Key Leadership Crisis Element 5: Communicate Judiciously

There is a dramatic difference between judicious and regular communication. With the rapid pace of change, what and how we communicate is important. There are weeklong seminars focusing just on communication in the workplace.

I often use the “Speak Your Peace-The Civility Project” graphic to work through communication with teams.

If you do an employee survey, communication always comes up as an issue.

While this article may seem like a commercial for Maxwell Leadership, he is recognized worldwide for his leadership efforts. His book, Everyone Communicates, Few Connect, offers great insights into effective communication.

Maybe your business could use some help in this area. “Reply To All” and “forwarding” every email isn’t leadership. Use good judgement and discernment.

More importantly, think first before talking. Listen—truly listen. Wait for the person to finish talking before you say what you want. Be an active listener. Besides listening, one of the most effective communication tools is asking questions. That can bring clarity and better engages communication.

How can you change your communication style to achieve better results?

Key Leadership Crisis Element 6: Be Authentic

Authenticity is better than perfection. Authenticity has no competition. Uncertainty in leadership is okay and even welcome to some degree. I think back to a call I was on where the cabinet head of Wisconsin’s economy was asked a question she had difficulty answering. Rather than going into political-speak, she admitted she didn’t have an answer. Saying “I don’t know” is valuable and authentic.

I learned the same lesson when I was student teaching. I had been assigned to teach social studies with sophomores at Madison Memorial High School in Madison WI. That was intimidating enough having grown up in the small rural town of Verona. Wanting to be the expert with my students, I answered a student’s question wrongly. The question was regarding the U-2 flight of Gary Powers and whether he was shot down.

My cooperating teacher thankfully called me on it behind-the-scenes. The comfort of being able to say I don’t know was liberating. Do you know the answer? It doesn’t matter but the ability to say “I don’t know” does matter.

Next time we will wrap this up and talk more about the crisis itself.

Published by Todd Kuckkahn

I'm on a mission to revolutionize company culture and leadership.

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