A workplace crisis can occur at any time—and it can be anything, such as destructive weather, an economic failure, or a physical attack on an employee or the office itself. The situation can be swift and fleeting or it can last for days, weeks or months. Either way, it can be devastating. How well your business and employees recover from it depends largely on how well you can lead through it.
If you find yourself in a crisis situation, you must first remember to act—don’t freeze. It’s imperative that you deal with what’s in front of you, your business, and your employees. Failure to act can worsen and/or lengthen the situation at hand.
As you move forward, look for any quick steps that can help you and your office get firmer footing in the situation. If appropriate, be sure to communicate those steps to your employees, which can help rally the troops and point your people in the right direction.
Be aware of the choices you make and whether they’re working. Particularly if you’re in a longer-term crisis, step back from your plan and be critical of your own thinking. If your approach isn’t working or you feel things could be smoother, try something new. Get creative. Source other opinions. Be willing to accept something that’s off the beaten path. Just don’t get stuck in your plan simply because it was the first idea you had.
Know that your employees are looking to you for leadership and guidance. Yes, you need to be acting, but you also need to be available. Don’t hide behind the crisis. Don’t hide behind your plan. And certainly don’t hide behind any mistakes. Let your employees know that you’re there and that you’re leading them through the literal or figurative storm.
And finally, it might seem counter-intuitive, but you need to focus on you. Yes, take care of yourself. Find some form of stress relief (exercise, games, reading, or whatever works for you), and commit to engaging in it routinely. Be sure that you’re eating healthy, regular meals and avoiding those things that might trigger illness. Remember, if you succumb to a breakdown—physical, emotional, or mental—you’ll be no good to your office, your business, your employees or yourself.
In short, be the kind of leader who actually leads. Know that workplace crisis can strike at any time. Are you prepared?