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How to Lead Through a Crisis

Source | www.ccl.org

When faced with a crisis, most leaders are forced to think and behave in ways that feel unfamiliar. Whether it’s a technological, financial, natural, or health crisis — at work or in the community — crises demand that leaders take an emergency response plan and adapt it as new evidence and factors present themselves.

All the while, effective leaders are able to remain calm and maintain a sense of perspective. According to Gene Klann, author of our book Crisis Leadership, “During a crisis, your goal is to reduce loss and keep things operating as normal as possible.”

Especially as organizational leaders face the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and associated disruptions in the global economy, Klann recommends the following 5 actions to prepare and respond.

5 Ways to Lead and Adapt Through a Crisis

  1. Seek credible information.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to determine the most reliable, up-to-date information from trustworthy news sources. “Avoid getting information only from social media, and be wary of any news organizations that have a political, financial, or activist agenda,” says Klann. “Their information may be biased and, to varying degrees, inaccurate.”

In the current case of the coronavirus, Klann recommends consulting state and local health services, the World Health Organization — which provides rolling updates — and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where you can find advice on how to prepare and take action, whether you’re at home or affiliated with K-12 schools and childcare programs, universities, mass gatherings, etc.

  1. Use appropriate communication channels.

Once essential information is gathered, it should be disseminated to the entire organization by every means possible. Transparency is key. “Information is the oil that greases an organization and keeps it running smoothly,” Klann says. “This is especially true during a crisis.”

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