Leading during periods of uncertainty, significant change, and crisis creates several challenges:

  • Managing one’s own worries and stresses and those of the team
  • Balancing time implementing operational changes of today while planning for tomorrow
  • Staying up to date with changes and prioritizing best use of time and resources

Leadership Tips to Maintain Perspective in a Crisis

The Center for Creative Leadership and Gene Klann’s book, Crisis Leadership, recommend these four tips for maintaining perspective in a crisis:

  • Think “today” – take the crisis one day at a time
  • Focus on the positive – avoid negative people, negative thoughts, and negative talk
  • Get grounded – take five minute private breaks
  • Prioritize and focus – concentrate only on major issues

Following are helpful articles and references focused on leadership during a crisis.

Are You Leading Through the Crisis … or Managing the Response?
Harvard Business Review provides clarity on the role of the leader during a crisis and includes common traps to avoid as a leader:

  1. Taking a narrow view
  2. Getting seduced by managing
  3. Over-centralizing the response
  4. Forgetting the human factors

Five Ways to Adapt and Lead Through a Crisis
The Center for Creative Leadership reminds us that “…effective leaders are able to remain calm and maintain a sense of perspective.” This article adapts five strategies for leading teams from Gene Klann’s book, Crisis Leadership:

  1. Seek credible information
  2. Use appropriate communication channels
  3. Explain what your organization is doing about the crisis
  4. Be present, visible, and available
  5. Dedicate organizational resources for future crises

How Should Leaders Communicate to Employees During Times of Crisis?
Forbes features a business study that demonstrated the importance of building trust with teams and staff, particularly during major periods of uncertainty or crisis. This business author concludes that the best way to communicate is to be as open and transparent as possible, as early as possible.

The Heart of Resilient Leadership: Responding to COVID-19
Deloitte discusses five fundamental qualities of resilient leadership:

  1. Design from the heart…and the head
  2. Put the mission first
  3. Aim for speed over elegance
  4. Own the narrative
  5. Embrace the long view




“As leaders, we need to shift from reacting to the urgent to anticipating and prioritizing what is most important.”