Crisis Leadership: How to Be Effective in a Worst-Case Scenario

Crisis Leadership

There are two dominant qualities shared by most successful CEOs. First, they are highly skilled at bringing together teams talented people and organizing them to achieve maximum results. Second, they are able to function well in a high-stress scenario and provide reliable crisis leadership. Few business leaders naturally have these skills, and all executives can benefit from programs designed to develop strategic leadership and coaching-style skills.

To help you on your journey towards improving your crisis leadership competence, we’ve compiled our “Top Ten Tips for How to be Effective in a Worst-Case Scenario.

  1. Consider the Risks

    – Long before an emergency hits, anticipate potential crises by objectively analyzing areas of risk. Not only will you be able to remediate any unnecessary risk factors, but you’ll also be better prepared to identify early warning signs.

  2. Think Proactively

    – Make a plan long before the chaos takes hold, so you can keep your focus two steps ahead. A general crisis plan establishes all of the initial actions, such as the key team members needed to develop the crisis-specific response strategy.

  3. Gather Facts

    – To be an effective leader, your decisions and strategies depend on access to reliable information. When a crisis hits, assign a team whose sole purpose is to gather the facts you need to understand what has happened and how to move forward.

  4. Classify Information

    – Facts give you firm data that can’t be changed, while problems show you the path forward because these are the elements that require solutions. Separate the two to help your team of experts maintain a forward focus.

  5. Think Calmly

    – Emotions tend to run high during an emergency, but effective crisis leadership depends on calm, clear thinking. Don’t let the stress cloud your judgment, and work to keep key team members level-headed, if you see emotion getting the best of them.

  6. Control Your Mind

    – You have the power to control how the situation impacts your mind and your actions. Focus your energy only on the challenges you can influence and refuse to get upset by the events that led up to the crisis. There will be time to analyze and respond to those elements later.

  7. Remain Flexible

    – An unfolding crisis can move at the speed of light, and by its nature, you’re dealing with an ever-changing environment. It’s essential that you’re able to admit when strategies aren’t working, so you don’t waste valuable time and resources.

  8. Correct Course

    – Never ‘stay the course’ if it isn’t working as hoped. Constantly look for ways to adapt to changing circumstances with quick and strategic course corrections. After all, you’re constantly learning new facts and identifying new problems, so strategies can become outdated even before they get fully implemented.

  9. Support Teamwork

    – As a leader in a crisis, your most practical role is to organize, coordinate and support your team of experts, so they have the resources they need to get the job done. Leave your ego behind and make sure all of your team members do, too.

  10. Have an Advisor

    – Successful crisis leadership often means knowing who to turn to when you, the company’s trusted leader, doesn’t know what to do next. Proactively nurture a relationship with a reliable business advisor who has been in the trenches and can provide the expert guidance you need in every situation, including the worst-case scenario.

Explore Business & Crisis Leadership Coaching with FocalPoint Canada

At FocalPoint Canada, we guide our clients in overcoming challenges and leveraging opportunities with proven processes and methodologies that have been used by thousands of successful businesses over the past two decades. Our FocalPoint business coaches use their expertise to teach our time-tested methods through individual coaching, group sessions, or trainings and workshops.


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