If we’ve learned anything as a country throughout our history, it’s that the ways we see leaders leading in times of crisis will define legacies, often determining whether one is reviled or revered. This is because times of crisis expose the heart and skills (or lack thereof) in leaders much faster than times of peace and prosperity.
In churches, in families, and in work environments of all kinds, true leaders can pull people together in spite of the chaos that swirls around them. Here are 5 C’s that leaders need to provide in times of crisis.
Resisting the urge to panic in a crisis is critical for leaders. That’s how a leader lays a foundation for everything else to follow. By remaining calm, a leader is able to think, analyze, problem-solve, and communicate more effectively. Calm is not the absence of fear, but the presence of mind to set fear aside and focus on what’s important.
When we lose our ability to see the humanity in others, we begin to lose our grip on our morals and ethics. Having compassion for the hurting and the suffering is also important for leaders in prioritizing resources and vulnerabilities in a time of crisis. To ignore suffering is to undercut the power of self-sacrificial love.
Judgment and understanding quickly can be clouded in a crisis by a barrage of thoughts, emotions, and questions. It’s imperative for leaders to be able to clear the mental clutter, and deal with what is known and what can be done, instead of what is unknown and out of one’s control. Just pausing to breathe and simply asking “What do we know and what can we do?” is a good start to clarity.
Great leaders can accomplish what seems impossible in times of crisis, often because they are able to find creative ways to solve problems. Untold thousands of pages have been written on Abraham Lincoln’s navigation of the Civil War, recounting how he continually and creatively adapted to the resources and strengths of even his greatest rivals. A creative mind can find unexpected solutions.
In football, you often hear the winning coach talk after a game about the importance of halftime adjustments. In a crisis, a true leader doesn’t stay on autopilot but continuously takes in new information to calculate and recalculate the potential paths through the situation. Leadership is not just setting a gameplan for a potential crisis; it’s assessing and changing that gameplan in the middle of a crisis when the calculations call for adjustments.
I hope this list gives you some ideas of how to evaluate leaders in your life and inspires us to become better in every context of leadership.
What advice would you give about leading in times of crisis? Share in a comment.