How to Manage During a Crisis

Ken-Lear-Crisis-Management

Flickr CC via Aleksi Aaltonen

Ken Lear is an expert on all things business, entrepreneurship, and leadership. Follow him on Tumblr today.

In life and in business, things can happen that require all of our attention. When a crisis happens, we’re suddenly consumed by it—nothing else takes precedence. This is nature of a crisis. And in a crisis, people look to the manager for guidance, information, and help. The captain is the one that must steer the ship through the storm.

So what can a manger to do successfully lead a team through the rocky oceans of crisis? Here are some management tips for tumultuous times:

1.  Be informative

If your team is left in the dark, it will only be a matter of time before rumors and fear set in. Once that happens, the panic will spread, and the crisis will be difficult to contain. By keeping everyone informed as much as possible, you can reign in the panic and might even score some good ideas from the team, too.

While it’s crucial to control the flow of information where needed, it’s also important to get everyone on the same page. The last thing you need in a crisis is additional crises based upon false knowledge.

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2. Attack the problem at its root

The quickest way to dig yourself and your team out of the muck is to find out what the real problems are, face them, and act accordingly. It may be tempting to just put a band-aid on the issue and hope it goes away. But most likely, the crisis is a result of a bigger problem that should be addressed.

This is where your management skills are needed. You’ll need to know where to focus your efforts in order to really make a difference. If your organization is facing backlash because of a leak of sensitive information, you might have an image problem. Instead of a witch-hunt for the leak, try to find ways to repair your image. Then you might be able to prevent crises like this from happening again.

3. Be clear

A crisis is perhaps the best time to be clear in your communication. Crises are complicated things that require clarity in resolving them. If you’re specific about what you want your team to do, they can focus on that without needing to feel overwhelmed by the crisis in general.

Great leaders exercise clarity and simplification, and there is no better time to use these skills than in a crisis. Clarity is equally important in external communications. When you simplify things for the public, you appear honest and confident, as opposed to dodgy and untrustworthy.

Be prepared for a crisis by remembering these tips for managing your employees. Communicate information to your team and the public in a clear and understandable way, while working to get to the root of the problem. Be open to suggestions from your team, too. Multiple opinions and viewpoints help in times of crisis.

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