From cyber attack to natural disaster to an unpredicted event like virus pandemic, leaders should be ready anywhere anytime when a crisis hits. However, a study shows that crisis is often stressful and the complexity of a crisis is sometimes hard to handle, even for experienced leaders. Analysing a sample of 198 crisis leaders, the study found that crisis management training is not fully effective to address behavioural aspects of crisis leadership. Rather, leaders often fall into some fatal mistakes.
Based on research and collaborative crisis management experts, here are 4 mistakes leaders often make when dealing with a crisis.
Oftentimes, leaders are caught off guard by an unexpected and potentially fatal event with no structure or action plans to follow. Through this lack of foresight and proper pre-crisis planning, leaders will react to a crisis by applying simple and common solutions that endanger business existence, such as employee termination or reduced benefits. These simple solutions often do not align with the company’s goal, people, and resources which, consequently, lead to a futile result.
When stress and pressure hits, leaders would find themselves confused and, sometimes, unable to move. Leaders who appear removed from the crisis negate their perceived and expected leadership’s action. It will only invite more chaos without the presence and visibility of a leader during a crisis.
Communication is paramount in every occasion, especially in crisis management. Yet, what makes it fail when communicating during a crisis is the limited resources available to communicate effectively. The majority of communication failures come from electronic equipment failures, unclear goals, misunderstood instructions, poor delegation, incomplete feedback systems, and lack of decision making. It is also vital for leaders to mind their word of choice when communicating crises with stakeholders as words have a powerful impact in itself.
The very nature of crisis mandates leaders to be open and willing to change fast, embracing new ways and problem-solving techniques. Yet far too often, in the midst of crisis, leaders rely on the ways of how their “past” plan has saved them in the past crisis and let fear control them. When this happens, leaders would objectively be unable to find new ways to respond better to today’s immediate crisis. That said, a good leader refers to those who are flexible of change, even if it means of changing their own thinking or perspective.