The best leaders learn from their successes and failures, as well as embrace the existence of risk. At some point in a leader’s term, they will have to deal with a crisis. Employees look to their leaders to navigate them through turbulent times. To maintain trust in their leader, people need to believe the leader is remaining true to the beliefs previously set out and has the best interest of the organization at heart. These are the steps a leader can take to minimize damage and maximize the chances of getting through a crisis:
A leader must acknowledge what is happening, explain the problem, and share what they plan to do about it. Leaders must take decisive and quick action. Making good decisions under pressure can be difficult, but waiting too long can cause people to think that a disaster has occurred.
Leaders must communicate as often and as honestly as possible. Leaders need the support and commitment of their followers to solve problems. Before rumors begin, it is important for leaders to communicate with those most directly affected to alleviate fear and mistrust. When employees must be laid off due to a crisis situation, it should be done with great emotional intelligence in order to protect the morale of those left behind.
Leaders will make mistakes. It is inevitable. Experienced leaders know the value in taking “time out” and away from the business in order to recharge so that they can make better decisions. It is important for a leader to reset their perspective so they can continue to create great ideas.
Exceptional leaders care about their organizations and employees. As lonely and challenging as it might become, a leader still has an authentic passion and belief in what they are doing.
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