When any kind of crisis hits, it’s critical to have strong leadership in place. Whether it’s a technology failure or losing an integral member of staff, you want to be the kind of leader that keeps your team moving forwards through times of trouble. The best leaders will have built up a team prior to any crisis that are prepared to face obstacles head on. How can you develop leaders like this?

The key to becoming a crisis-ready leader boils down to management style. You need to be proactive instead of reactive, creating a team and relationships in a way that makes them well-positioned to handle a crisis effectively.

So what does this look like in action?

Blackboard text asking if you are ready for a crisis

Are you ready to handle a company crisis?

1. Observe and prepare

It’s important to use your times of stability for preparation. You should observe how people react in smaller periods of crisis to get an idea of what their temperaments would be in larger-scale scenarios. Learn as much as you possibly can about how people operate under pressure and work with them on making these reactions more proactive.

2. Build clear behavioural frameworks

When leaders create clear frameworks for their teams’ behaviours, their staff knows what is expected of them. This creates a level of accountability for everyone in the office and it sets a team up really well to deal with crises. If your team knows how they are supposed to behave, they are much more likely to do so.

Lots of leaders make the mistake of only focusing on processes and systems when it comes to crisis management plans. While these can be important, behaviour is a much more critical piece of the puzzle. Not everyone is going to remember a numbered list of steps but most people will recall what behaviours are expected of them – build these frameworks for your team and the processes will follow.

Not everyone is going to remember a numbered list of steps but most people will recall what behaviours are expected of them.

3. Create strong and trusting relationships

Here at Leading Teams we believe strong relationships are the crux of every success – crisis management is no different. When you have strong internal relationships you can have genuine conversations about what is needed in times of crisis.

Perhaps more important than that is the fact that relationships are inherently tied to trust. You need a team that can trust you as a leader and that you can trust when the going gets tough. Crises tend to reveal flaws in team relationships because without these kinds of connection, problems become much more difficult to handle.

4. Empower and enable your team members

No single person can handle a crisis on their own. Leaders must be able to trust their team members to play their role in working through a crisis and empower them to make the decisions they need to keep the company moving forward.

You’d be hard pressed to find a team member that doesn’t want to help in times of crisis – leaders simply need to let their staff members know that they are trusted to do so. This ties back to our behavioural frameworks and relationships – when these two areas are solid, it’s easy to empower your employees because you know they know what they’re doing.

A strong team is the best defence

The ultimate test for any crisis-trained team will be when crisis hits.

Crisis-ready leaders are really those who have created a well prepared and high performing team.

Make sure that you have genuine conversations in the aftermath of these situations where you can openly and honestly discuss what worked and what didn’t. From there, refine your processes and frameworks accordingly.

Crisis-ready leaders are really those who have created a well prepared and high performing team. Leading Teams specialises in helping leaders create teams that look just like this; to learn more about our model or to chat about how we can help you, please get in touch today.

Resilience: The Australian leader's most powerful tool