Every crisis has within it seeds of change. These changes bring about uncertainty, turbulence and fear. The top leaders seem to rise to meet the challenging situations, where others flounder.
They look beyond the immediate pain, have greater faith in themselves and those around them. They do everything in their power to act & walk to the other side of the fear leading others behind them.
COVID-19 pandemic has caused more fear and panic among people than anything in the last few decades. But great leadership is creating a difference to mitigate the challenges and help people overcome desperation. Here’s a look at how crisis brings out the best in the top leaders:
1. Faith & Patience
Great leaders are driven by immense faith in what they do. When there is a crisis, people are generally anxious and nervous about the future. They feel restless, insecure and emotionally unbalanced. Leaders make people focus on things they can do, make a difference where they can & forget about the distractions.
All remarkable leaders learn to use patience as a tool to counteract the toughest times. When dealing with uncertainties, it takes a lot of efforts to change direction and navigate new possibilities. All this would never be possible without patience. Leaders make people see light at the end of the tunnel even in the hardest situations.
2. Take Tough Calls
The crisis management requires leaders to take tough calls. The top leaders are not shy of taking the hard decisions that will lead to long-term success. They are ready to be unpopular, but have an eye on the shared goals. When a situation demands, extraordinary measures everyone in the team has to perform and focus on the most important things.
It is the leaders job to ensure that everyone understands what is expected of them and give their best. This is a time to reinforce commitment to the core mission, priorities and team over individuals.
3. Forge Relationships
It is a human tendency to be scared in an emergency. An emergency, uncertainty, collective fear and difficult situation requires a human centered approach. The top leaders acknowledge the emotions at play and do their best to take care of their people during these times.
They understand and connect with people on a human level to calm them. They show empathy & real concern, but help them get moving as well. It is all too easy to be a victim of the crisis and mess up your head with overthinking. But it only leads to chaos and anxiety. Leaders get people to act decisively and make them do things that they ought to be doing.
4. Inspire Hope & Be Accessible
When the going gets tough, people look for hope, reassurance and support. It is a time for leaders to connect with their people and be accessible for them. They need to communicate and spell out their strategy for everyone in the crisis.
Sometimes, leaders just need to listen to their people, hear what they have to say and calm them down. It can make a big difference. People know that they are being appreciated for what they have to say. Even when the reality is hard, when people rally around and back each other, they can get past even the most tumultuous times.
5. Flexibility to Attain Goals
Plans can go awry in a situation like COVID-19. Great leadership is required to navigate the unchartered territories. It needs to be flexible, open minded and willing to change. There is no plan that is guaranteed to work, but an approach that works requires constant experimentation and evaluation of the changing realities.
The top leaders have a knack of figuring out the best ways to move forward. They are willing to try what has never been done to rally people together & do the needful.
6. Innovation & Opportunities
Great leaders see hardships as a means to sharpen focus on innovation and opportunities around them. They cultivate a mindset where people are tuned to see the possibilities in the crisis. It is this quality that forges their leadership during uncertainties.
The best leaders come up with new ideas to make things happen. They make everyone focus their energies on exploring solutions to problems. Every crisis opens opportunities for those who are ready to try with an open mind. Many innovations and creative solutions are found during the toughest times. A great leader forces everyone to regroup and visualise the possibilities instead of the difficulties and the limitations of the challenging times.
7. Positive Difference
The ability of a group & team to make a positive difference cannot be overstated, especially when the chips are down. Many of the top leaders in history rose during the crisis, because they were able to create a positive difference & impact with their leadership. Abraham Lincoln was most admired for his role in keeping the nation together during the Civil War.
Nelson Mandela served almost 30 long years in prison before he could see the end of apartheid. Steve Jobs came back to Apple when it was in a crisis, he redefined their product lines, renewed focus of the company & the rest is history.
Great leaders are not afraid of uncertainty, unpredictability and difficulties, they cultivate a deep sense of purpose & do what is needed from them. These leaders have the ability to rise above the problems, do something that is meaningful and create a positive difference. It is their ability to inspire hope, achieve results and impact their surroundings that make them top leaders.