How to be a Great Leader in a Crisis

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I’ve hesitated for the last couple months to write anything about the COVID-19 coronavirus and what’s been going on. I didn’t want to seem like I was trying to take advantage or pander or seem disingenuous.

But as I watch news of the virus spread into Europe and the US, I feel it’s important to discuss how to be a Great Leader in times of crisis. As fear and panic spreads from the COVID-19 coronavirus, it is vital that our leaders step up and lead.

We cannot afford to have bad leaders take over. Bad leaders will add fuel to the fire and create more division.

Leaders need to show strength and flexibility during these uncertain times. Great leaders will calm the fear and panic. Great leaders will bring people together to help support each other.

Find and Speak the Truth

I’m in Greater China and I’ve been here ever since the outbreak started back in January. Obviously, with the coronavirus epicenter in Wuhan, China, it’s been all over the news in Asia.

I’m not going to lie. Watching the news and scrolling through social media – it doesn’t instill much confidence. But that’s exactly the purpose and goal of those platforms.

Media has become over sensationalized. Local news channels and social media influencers, they want more viewers. There’s a lot of fake and exaggerated information out there. The key is to go and find the truth. Stick to experts in the field.

Stay up to date on the World Health Organization’s website. There’s your country’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) websites to find out the latest locally. For those in the US, here’s the US CDC’s website. Joe Rogan also had a great interview with an expert in infectious diseases. It’s definitely worth a watch and listen, because the truth is in those 1.5 hours.

Find the truth. Speak the truth. That’s what great leaders do. They use truth as the foundation of any relationship. Truth is the base material for any foundation. Just ask your husband, wife, kids, and partners!

Face the Crisis Head On

Great leaders face a crisis head on. They’re not afraid to take on difficult situations. Leaders are ultimately responsible for leading the teams to their goals. They know that there’s a bigger goal that they are working towards, so these “crises” are just a bump in the road that they have to overcome as a team. One reason that great leaders aren’t afraid of facing a crisis? They have built a great team that they trust. Great leaders know they can’t reach goals by themselves. They rely on the team. That’s why you have a team.

When faced with a crisis, great leaders will first gather the team and acknowledge the crisis. That’s always step one. Don’t pretend it’s not there. Don’t dismiss it. Recognize it’s there.

Then start asking questions of the team to understand the whole picture. Then collectively take all the information to formulate possible solutions.

As the leader, the team will look to you to make a final decision on solutions. Don’t shy away from making decisions. Make a decision and move forward.

If that path turns out to be problematic, don’t worry. Just stop and pivot to another of the solution options that you and the team had come up with. Don’t dwell on failures. Accept the failure, learn from it and move on.

Long Road Ahead

Whether times are good or bad, great leaders are always consistent in their actions and behaviors. They know that there’s a long road ahead and anything short term is just that, short term. The big picture goals are still there.

If the team just had a big win, leaders will celebrate. But they also know the celebration will be short-lived as there’s still a long road ahead. They know the team still has a long way to go and the leader is already thinking about what’s next.

If you’re a NFL fan, here’s Bill Belichick, one of the greatest head coaches ever, talking about why he doesn’t celebrate touchdowns. I’m not a New England Patriots fan, but I respect what he’s accomplished – even if it’s at the expense of the New York Jets.

If the team just experienced a big failure, the wallowing will be short-lived as great leaders know there’s still a long road ahead. Great leaders grab the team to discuss why they failed and learn to avoid it in the future. Great leaders don’t look to find blame with specific people. They look to the team as a whole and it was a team failure, including the leader. But together, as a team, they’re going to learn how to avoid the same failure in the future. Then they start looking at what’s next. No time for wallowing.

While you and your team might be working remotely, remember that the key to keeping the whole team moving forward together is overcommunication. Don’t let the remoteness of work let your team fall into bad habits and mind wandering.

With great leadership and a great team relationship built on trust, you’ll be able to get through anything – including this COVID-19 coronavirus spread.

Here’s a great video of Success Mentor Darren Hardy talking about leadership through the COVID-19 pandemic:

8 Key Precautions to Preventing the Spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus:

There are many people and sites out there that have said how to be as safe as possible by following some precautions. But as a leader, you can never be reminded of it enough and you can never remind others enough either.

1. Stay home as much as possible, especially if you’re sick
2. If you must go outside, avoid crowded places.
3. Practice social distancing with at least 1 meter separation
4. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
5. Carry a hand sanitizer with you when out
6. Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth
7. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze
8. Wear a face mask to protect yourself from others, but also to protect others from you

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