As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s difficult to find time in our schedules to think about – and plan for – bad weather or a breakdown in our systems. But just because we don’t have time to plan for how to respond in times of crisis doesn’t mean they won’t happen. Here are three ways you can demonstrate leadership whether you’re facing a surprise snowstorm power outage, a product launch failure, or a public health crisis.
- Recognize helping and solving a problem can be two different things.
Many times we feel called to jump right in and provide help during emergencies and disruptive life events. An unexpected snowstorm might have you reaching for your shovel to clear your neighborhood’s sidewalks, but often the best thing you can do as a leader is to provide clear direction and a solution to the problem instead. If you’re leading a team, they are looking to you to provide vision and guidance in what actions to take next. There is value in having your own boots on the ground, but there is decidedly more value in directing your team in what to do.
- Determine your team’s energy, then delegate.
In times of crisis, emotions rise no matter whether we’re at home or on the job. As a leader, you are in a unique position to assess your team’s energy then delegate responsibilities and tasks as needed. If your team is calm and collected, then a meeting to determine what actions to take in the crisis makes sense. If everyone is panicking, it may be better to delegate low-risk tasks to provide a semblance of routine before regrouping on a plan of action.
- Put people first.
Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 or a leader on a youth camping trip, you’re leading people with human emotions and weaknesses. Check in with your team often. Encourage them when they need it. Provide assistance where you can. Manage expectations at all costs.