2 Big Mistakes To Avoid When A Crisis Hits


One of the current trends in leadership is that complexity is the new normal. Challenges are complicated by many factors and there are few single causes or solutions. Along with complexity, the environment we operate in now is more volatile and unpredictable than in the past. We are working in an era where there are more change initiatives and increased uncertainty than ever before.

And in between this ‘norm’ comes a crisis. A workplace injury has occurred. You have had to dismiss one of your senior leaders. You’ve laid off staff due to a downturn in sales. You gain unwanted negative publicity.

It takes the full strength of a leader to lead their team through change. In order to lead through this, you need to:

  • Draw on your behavioural flexibility;
  • Respond in an agile manner;
  • Decipher ambiguity; and
  • Exercise judgement when making quick decisions.

Hopefully, your experience, knowledge and relationships have got you to a point where you are up for the challenge. You are likely to handle the situation well, working with all the resources you have available to you to get through this as smoothly as possible.

So what are you doing wrong?

Mistake #1 – You Get Bogged Down In Implementation

Sometimes we can think we’re indispensable. At times this may even be true. However, if we are focussed on the detail, we can lose sight of the big picture. And this is dangerous.

Reconnecting to purpose and mission is going to be the best guide through these muddy waters. What is the purpose and mission for your business? What are they for you personally? Knowing your values, and your company’s values, will assist guide you through decision-making. They will act as your compass to know what direction to take.

Overwhelm creeps up quickly when you are focussed on all the tasks ahead of you. Keeping your eyes lifted to this higher level of thinking requires you taking the time and creating the space to step aside and actually think. Time out is essential, and you must see it as imperative. It’s simply a non-negotiable.


Mistake #2 – You Go It Alone

There’s a saying I’m sure you are familiar with: ‘it’s lonely at the top’. From my own personal experience, what that means to me is that as the leader in charge, you are responsible for ensuring everyone else is looked after. That means you are their go-to person for support. You need to hold it together for others to feel certainty and security.

When it comes to your own reaction, your emotions are held close to your chest. So I wonder, who is supporting you? Who do you have in your corner, ready to listen and support you? Can you identify three people off the top of your head? Two perhaps? One? Anyone?

Your ability to remain focussed throughout a crisis will improve dramatically if you have support. Whether that is somebody else within your business, a colleague or a coach, it’s imperative you seek someone out.



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