Mike Tyson once famously said, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” That idea is true in every walk of life. It doesn’t take a great leader to keep everyone on the same page and moving towards the goal when everything is going according to plan. The mark of a great leader is being able to keep everything moving forward when it seems like everything is falling apart. But how do you effectively lead people in a time of crisis?
Great leaders don’t have to have every answer to every question; they merely need to have access to people who can answer the questions they can’t. A great leader is not only able to find the answers in a time of crisis; he or she is willing to reach out for help. Leaders fall when they are too proud to reach out for help from those who have already dealt with what they’re facing at the moment. With technological advancements and a world of information at your fingertips, you can access the expertise of countless people who have gone before you.
Meet Your People Where They Are
An excellent way to lead a team of people in a time of crisis is to start at the bottom level of Maslow’s Hierarchy. More than your people need to hear about your plans and your vision for navigating this time of trouble; they need to feel confident and safe. Your employees aren’t as concerned about the company’s long-term strategy as they are about meeting the basic needs of their family. That’s not an indictment on them as employees; it’s an opportunity to show how much you care about your team.
Defining Urgent and Important
Everything that’s important isn’t urgent. It’s important that you get the garbage rolled to the end of your driveway on trash pickup day, but getting out of a burning building is urgent. Knowing the difference in urgent and important is vital to getting through a crisis. There will be things that come up during this crisis that are urgent and other things that are important. A great leader will figure out how to prioritize those things and address the urgent matters first.