Five Behaviors Leaders Need During Times of Crisis

leadership development

Now more than ever, the world needs leaders. To navigate a global pandemic and the ensuing economic fallout, executive leadership is crucial. Whether you learn them in leadership training courses or on the job, these five behaviors can help keep your business afloat during times of crisis.

1. Define your priorities and ACT

Situations are always changing, but in times of crisis they change fast. You must do the best you can with the information available. Deliberate too long and you miss your chance. The best leaders quickly assimilate information, define priorities, and act decisively.

For example, you might identify three top priorities: employee safety, customer safety, and keeping your business afloat financially. You must anticipate the necessary trade-offs and conflicts that will arise by sticking to your priorities. Assemble a team of trusted decision makers. Realize people will make mistakes, accept missteps, but stay on track. Leading during a crisis will sharpen your change management skills.

2. Change with the times

A crisis is no time to stick your toe in and check the water temperature—bold leaders jump. They adapt quickly rather than clinging to yesterday’s rules. New day, new way. Good leaders listen to people on the front lines of the situation with direct knowledge. It doesn’t matter if those people are ten pay grades down—a smart leader recognizes that their people understand their areas of expertise and incorporates that information into today’s new plan.

3. Deliver on your promises

Remember those priorities? They’ll change quickly in times of crisis. But whatever they are, keep a firm focus on these moving targets. Reassess your priorities daily with your executive leadership team. Make sure they communicate changing priorities to their direct reports. Identify appropriate metrics to measure progress. And deliver.

4. Keep the lines of communication open

Despite focusing on meeting your priorities, remember to open the lines of communication with people on your team, your customers, and other stakeholders and keep them open. Find the best ways to engage with each group, whether that means in person or by email, phone, or videoconferencing. During a crisis when in-person meetings are difficult or impossible, videoconferencing is especially valuable because you can see body language and make eye contact. We all know how easy it is to misread the tone in an email or text.

How do you make time to communicate with everybody? By blocking out communication time in your schedule. Yes, communication is on the priority list, too.

5. Remember everybody’s humanity

Crises demand overtime from everybody, but humans aren’t robots. Make sure there’s at least a little time for self-care. Encourage your employees to take breaks for meditation, walking, or other physical activity. Listen to your team and remember their humanity.

Alterity’s Leadership Training

Our leadership development programs turn promising employees into valuable members of your executive leadership team. We train them to develop a leadership mind-set so they can lead others effectively and gain expertise in change management. Our manager development programs help employees shine every day—both in times of crisis and when it’s smooth sailing.


Sample the Manager Development Program on our On-Demand Learning Portal today!