How to Lead a Team During a Crisis

May 21, 2024 | Podcast

World at Work episode 78 How to Lead a Team During a Crisis“If you’re in the moment of crisis, this is the one time where people are going to be looking to you to take charge and provide direction.”

At some point in their career, leaders will find themselves in the challenging but crucial task of leading a team during a crisis. Whether it’s a wildfire, a pandemic, or any other unforeseen disruptor, being prepared and having a strong leadership strategy can make all the difference. After my experience navigating a wildfire I learned a number of lessons on how to lead a team during a crisis. Unfortunately some I never knew before I went through it. That is why now I like to help other leaders prepare the best they can.

First and foremost, you must prepare for a crisis beforehand. It may sound strange planning for unexpected crisis, but having at least a framework is essential. Taking the time to train your team on crisis protocols ahead of time will help give a sense of control in otherwise uncontrollable situations.

Conduct regular “tabletop exercises” to simulate scenarios and gather input from all team members. These exercises help get input from vairious perspectives within the organization to make sure all bases are covered. Once a plan is established, communicate clear steps and roles to ensure everyone knows what to do when the unexpected happens.

When a crisis occurs you need to ensure immediate safety of everyone. In any crisis, the first priority is to assess and ensure the safety of your team. Establish clear lines of communication to keep everyone informed and updated. Address any immediate physical dangers and provide support for personal well-being before assessing work capabilities.

One of the challenging situations to work through in the midst and after a crisis are managing expectations and needs. Quickly identify and address the immediate needs of your clients and stakeholders. Maintain regular, factual communication to keep everyone in the loop. Be decisive and flexible in your approach, adapting as necessary to meet the evolving situation.

The better preparation that you do, the more effective you will be and the more protected and healthy and happy and safe the people who are relying on you will be. An imperfect decision is better than no decision. In times of crisis, you must move. Make sure to listen to this episode for more on how to lead a team during a crisis.

Connect with Tim and his team:

Website: https://bestculturesolutions.ca/

LinkedIn: Best Culture Solutions, Inc

Instagram: @best.culture.solutions  

Email: tim@bestculturesolutions.ca

Key Moments

00:00 Threatened by wildfire prompts conversation on crisis management

06:26 Tabletop exercises simulate and improve emergency responses.

09:35 Involving people in decision-making is important for effective action and crisis readiness.

12:04 Plan ahead and assess immediate safety during crisis.

15:10 Provide clear, factual, and regular updates to your team.

19:07 Planning for crises, supporting mental health, flexibility.

20:54 In crisis, take charge with clear direction and manners.

24:31 Guidelines and crisis plan improve organizational culture.

Tim Dyck
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