Things aren’t always going to be good as a leader. As a leader we must learn to lead in the good times and in the bad. Leading through a crisis is just a fact that will come along with being a technical leader. I recently was able to both witness a good leader lead through a crisis and be the leader in a different crisis. I want to share a few things that I took away from it.
Stay Calm. The best way to lead in a crisis is to stay calm. I try to tell my team that no one’s going to die here (we’re in IT not the military).
Understand that you’ll get through this and probably have a good story or lesson from it.
Don’t worry so much about the cause and never point fingers. Focus on the solution and moving forward.
Sweat the small stuff. During a crisis, celebrate the small wins in order to motivate and keep things moving forward.
Be overly transparent. Hide nothing about what’s going on. Let your team know that you’re a human with feelings and emotions too and you’ve chosen to control them and not let them get the best of you.
Over communicate. This is a time when its okay to over communicate. We talk about letting people be creative, but let’s make sure they are fully aware of all the details in in crisis mode.
Don’t be afraid to be a dictator. During a crisis is the only time I can currently think of where its okay to be a dictator. When a decision has to be made and it must be made now, don’t worry about autonomy for motivation’s sake, focus on the task and issues at hand, and be a dictator if needed.
Be prepared to pivot. During a crisis, things don’t always go as planned and they usually won’t follow an easy path. Be prepared and expecting to pivot and deviate from you game plan. Prepare your team for it as well. Some personality types don’t handle rapid change and deviations too well, prepare them that its going to happen and to plan for the pivots.
Document, document, document. Keep track of what’s going on and when. When you get out of the crisis, and realize you will, nothing is worse than to have no idea what you did to resolve it.
Never waste a good crisis. They don’t come around too often, so when they do come around, find what you can learn from it and make sure you and your team learn your lesson. Learning is the most important thing that can come from a crisis. Celebrate your overcoming of it and communicate what you learned.
Now its your turn. What are other ways you can learn from a crisis or get through a crisis? Tell a story where you wet through a similar situation.
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