Practice One for a person leading others through a crisis is to acknowledge the situation by facing reality. Max DuPree said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” During a crisis, leaders do not have the luxury to ruminate on how things used to be. Nor do they have the comfort of wishing things were different. Amid the uncertainty, it is their job to fully assess the situation as it really is.
Face reality. In addition to the direct impact on the organization, think through the ramifications of the political, economic, societal, technological, legal, and environmental direct or indirect influences. These external factors demand serious consideration. However, a grounded leader must think about the internal effect the crisis may have on him or her. Acknowledging the need to monitor and manage your own stress level will better prepare you to mitigate the stress of those who follow you.
Here are at least four more suggestions the leader should embrace as a part of Practice One.
Don’t attack the messengers
Foster a climate of openness
Ensure everyone understands the magnitude of the crisis
Acknowledge the need to adapt