Article written by Dani Andrews

Leading an organization or a group of people requires both mental and emotional competence.

When faced with difficult situations, one of the things excellent leaders should do is acknowledge the problem and inform their members. This is exhibited by top political and industry leaders in US history. For instance, the inaugural address of US President Franklin Roosevelt during the Great Depression assured people that it was normal to feel worried about the situation. By the end of his speech, he encouraged the listeners to remain courageous and rational since this can allow them to think of ways to overcome any problem.

From this, you can see that strategically acknowledging the issues at hand doesn’t mean dampening the spirits of your members. Instead, it becomes an avenue for you to exercise empathy as well as encourage your people to keep their faith as you resolve the problem as a team.

When facing a crisis at work, here are three leadership mistakes you should avoid and some tips on how to prevent them from happening:

Not preparing your team to react to a crisis

Just because an obstacle is not present doesn’t mean it will not happen. Therefore, thinking ahead and preparing contingency plans should be your priority as a leader. Janet Yellen shared that preparation is key in crisis leadership, and one of the ways leaders can manage unexpected challenges is by adopting a firefighter’s mindset at work. She said: “firefighters know that when the blaze starts, you have to put [work-life balance] aside and sacrifice your personal desires and goals for the sake of the organization.” To accomplish this, Yellen mentioned it’s important to motivate your team to be ready to perform above the call of duty should a crisis emerge. This means preparing them for instances when they could be required to make some sacrifices and properly explaining why they may be needed to do so. In order for your team to be ready to react in such a crisis, there must be a strong company culture already in place.

Being Distant and Inaccessible

You must be thinking that as a leader, you must think of the solution and carry the burden alone. However, isolating yourself from your team can lead to a disastrous psychological phenomenon called groupthink among members. This happens when the desire for group consensus to solve a problem overrides common sense and critical thinking. If this happens, team members will agree with your solution even if they believe it’s inappropriate for the sake of peace within the group. During a crisis, the best thing that you can do is to decentralize the decision-making process to quickly solve the problem. By gathering with your team members and hearing out their opinions, you might discover a better solution from others while also strengthening the trust between yourself and your team members.

Failing to Communicate Effectively

If your crisis leadership practice doesn’t promote clear and trustworthy communication, you will not be able to overcome problems with your team. Research by Fischhoff and Roxane Cohen Silver revealed that people prefer honest answers, even when the news is bad. It includes informing your people about how the issue may impact their role in the organization, such as being laid off, to let them internalize the situation. This is important because researchers also claimed that it’s tough for leaders to regain their people’s trust once they lose it. If you communicate to understand your team, they will also be willing to talk and discuss their ideas with you. Therefore, make it a practice to chat with your members. Open your doors to them, and they will reciprocate by being loyal to your organization.

Article written by Dani Andrews

Dani Andrews is a business consultant and blogger. She dedicates her time in learning about the latest business trends and strategies. On her free time, she enjoys reading about the innovations in this space.

Exclusively for PREPAREDEX