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Being a Crisis Leader Given the Unique Crisis Environment

Being a Crisis Leader Given the Unique Crisis Environment
In this module, we explored the nature of the crisis environment. It presents a concentrated microcosm of the harsh VUCA world in which we are all expected to operate. It seems to be, as I mentioned in the introduction of this module, custom built to make all our responsibilities as high-stakes leaders as difficult and challenging as possible. Together, we explored several features of the crisis environment that high-stakes leaders will be forced to navigate to have any chance of successfully emerging from the disruption ready to compete. First, we established that in a crisis, there will always exist some degree of uncertainty about the origin, the nature, and the potential consequences of the threat.
This uncertainty will create a growing sense of anxiety and fear. As time passes, the weight of the growing sense of tension will increase, putting greater pressure on leaders to find solutions and write the ship. Second, we discussed the challenges of having to make decisions with limited information. This will be hard for high-stakes leaders. It will be uncomfortable. It will force leaders to have to fight the urge to delay decision-making until more data are available, until the picture is clearer, until they can make choices with a much higher degree of certainty. Unfortunately, during a crisis, time, clarity, even facts are often luxuries that high-stake leaders just don’t have. Leadership is about making difficult choices, about making decisions.
These decisions may never be more important to an organization than when it is facing a crisis. Third, we explored the discomfort of demonstrating and having to admit to vulnerability. The crisis environment can be very humbling. It will create many more opportunities for mistakes than for successes. It even finds a way to turn decisions that looked really good earlier into decisions that don’t look very good now or going forward. As high-stakes leaders, we just have to roll with it. Our job is doing the best we can with the information that we have. That’s all that anyone should expect of us. Perhaps they’ll expect more. But we must be steadfast in our commitment to simply doing the best that we can.
All of this begs the question, then, what does it take to be an exceptional crisis leader? Great question. In the next module, we’re going to dive deeply into exactly what the research tells us that stakeholders truly want and need from their high-stakes leaders. I’ll see you there.
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High Stakes Leadership: Leading in Times of Crisis

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