As the leader of a team or an organization, you will most likely deal with a big crisis. If you haven't dealt with a big crisis, it's not a question of if you will face one. In time, you will face one in your career. In fact, you will most likely deal with multiple large crises. With this in mind, the question you should ask yourself is this: what will I do in the midst of a crisis?
Here are some great points of emphasis to consider for being proactive in crisis management as a leader:
John Baldoni wrote a great article for the Harvard Business Review in regards to crisis management. In “How a Good Leader Reacts to a Crisis,” Baldoni presents five points that are critical in managing it well:
Take a moment to figure out what’s going on.
Look at what you're facing and do some analysis. If you take an American Red Cross course in First Aid, you will note that the first step in treating a condition is to assess the situation. If you try to skip that step throughout the test, the Red Cross will fail you. This applies in dealing with a serious situation in your life or in your organization as well. If you don't assess the situation correctly, you run a higher chance of failing. Look at what you have and what is going on.
Act promptly, not hurriedly.
Don't fall into the trap of “paralysis by analysis.” Don't be in a hurry, but move quickly once you know you have a good analysis completed of the situation. Take appropriate action and keep moving until the situation is under control.
Some people are likely to question you and what you did to cause this situation. They also want answers – now. Answer their questions, but don't linger in explanations or try to resolve every complaint and concern. As Baldwin explains, everyone, including yourself, wants the situation to go away. That's not realistic, but it is realistic that you can be active in your management and to be available to hear complaints and concerns.
Demonstrate control in crisis.
Don't let the situation control you. You control what you can do. Find resources. Find and mobilize leaders Find advocates and mobilize them as well. People need leaders that they can trust. Be that leader by being decisive and dependable.
In a crisis, conditions change rapidly as information comes in. As Baldwin explains, don't get too attached to a plan. Build a plan, but once things change, be willing to consider and potentially change your plan if there is a better strategy to use. Listen to reliable sources and consider their recommendations – don't just trust your judgment.
See Baldoni's article in full here: https://hbr.org/2011/01/how-a-good-leader-reacts-to-a
Manage crisis before it happens. Have a plan on how you'll deal with it.