It is a strange problem that leaders have to be at their very best when things are at their worst. In fact, it could be argued that the only time leadership really matters in a crisis. Almost anyone can steer a ship through calm waters, but only a great leader can steer it safely through a storm. Leaders who do not lead well through a crisis generally don’t find themselves in leadership for long. Here are four tips for leading during difficult times.
The most critical mistakes are generally made when people start panicking. Panic sends people into fight-or-flight mode, which makes critical thinking nearly impossible. In a crisis, people need to be calm, cool, and steady to keep them from panicking. However, to not panic in a crisis, you will need to develop certain skills before the crisis hits to train yourself not to panic in a crisis.
Don’t Make Decisions Until You Have to
Too often, in a crisis, people react rather than act. In a situation, everything seems urgent and demands swift action. However, the worst thing a leader can do is to act rashly or respond blindly to a rapidly changing situation. You want to give yourself time to gather as much information as possible in order to make the best decisions.
It is better to make the wrong decision decisively than to make the right decision hesitantly in a tough situation. In many cases, the people executing the decision can actually make the wrong choice come out right with enough confidence while acting in a tentative fashion can make even the right decision fail. It is important to accept that you are going to make mistakes but if you have to make them, make them decisively.
Keep Yourself in Performance Condition
It may seem like in a crisis, leaders need to be available at all times. However, the truth is that you need to keep your mental faculties in tip-top condition, which means getting regular and adequate sleep, eating well, and even exercising when possible. As the saying goes, put on your own oxygen mask first.