Crisis Leadership

Crisis Management (Contingency Planning)
Knowledge Center

Best Practices
Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

Crisis Leadership

Publilius Syrus already wrote in the 1st century BC: "Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm". This crisis management axiom is so important to leadership and management that we have it on the mouse pads of our management platform.

Leadership during a crisis is arguably the most difficult challenge any human being could ever face. Let's keep our heads cool and focus on the key things leaders should do in current Covid-19 crisis.

An excellent starting point is the framework of Boin, 't Hart, and van Esch, who researched the proceedings of the global financial crisis of 2008 and have come up with a framework of 7 key challenges of crisis leadership:
  1. SENSE MAKING: Diagnose confusing, contested and often fast-moving situations correctly, a necessary condition for effectively meeting the other challenges.
  2. MEANING MAKING: Provide persuasive public accounts of what is happening, why it is happening, what can be done about it, how and by whom; in other words, 'teaching reality' aimed at managing both the general public's and key stakeholders' emotions, expectations, behavioural inclinations, as well as to restore their crisis-eroded trust in public institutions and office-holders.
  3. DECISION MAKING: Make strategic policy judgments under conditions of time pressure, uncertainty and collective stress.
  4. COORDINATION: Forge effective communication and collaboration among pre-existing and ad-hoc networks of public, private and sometimes international actors.
  5. CONSOLIDATION: Switch the gears of government and society back from crisis mode to recovery and 'business as usual', without a loss of attention and momentum in delivering long-term services to those who are eligible.
  6. ACCOUNTABILITY: Manage the process of expert, media, legislative and judicial inquiry and debate that tends to follow crises in such a way that responsibilities are clarified and accepted, destructive blame games are avoided.
  7. LEARNING: Make sure that the parties involved in the crisis engage in critical, non-defensive modes of self-scrutiny and draw evidence-based and reflective lessons for their future performance.
The way in which crisis challenges are taken up, when and by whom determine how crises will determine their course and what sort of impact they will have. Let's see if leaders will follow the above sensible advice from science rather than spreading fake news themselves, blaming other countries or using the crisis for their own personal or political interests.

Source: Arjen Boin, Paul 't Hart, and Femke van Esch (2012), "Political Leadership in Times of Crisis: Comparing Leader Responses to Financial Turbulence", Researchgate

  Michael Norris
Director, United States
 

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All of these 7 are critical things in crisis management. Perhaps there should be an eighth competency added - PRACTICE. ...

  Nassim Rabii
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Comments on Key Challenges of Crisis Leadership

I guess that the most difficult thing is telling the truth to the public, and if we decide to do that, how shall we make...

  Hong Sun
Management Consultant, Canada
 

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Based on what’s happening in different countries around the world about their responses to the increasing cases of COVID...

  Alessandro Cerboni
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System Thinking and Complexity

Another requirement or challenge is being able to think in a COMPLEX SYSTEMS way. As long as we try to act following a r...

  Yoav Weinstein
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2-Way Communication

I agree with the points already mentioned however I believe that one important thing is missing: COMMUNICATION. In time...

  Michael Norris
Director, United States
 

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@Yoav Weinstein: Communication in crisis is indeed essential, however quite often one of the first things to break down ...

  Hong Sun
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  Maurice Hogarth
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It seems to me that all of the points noted in the above postings are equally relevant for day-to-day management. The fa...

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

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My 'market research of one" over years of consulting has led me to believe that leadership from the inside out is the wa...

  Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar
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Making decisions as tough as a DIAMOND, yet being sensitive to peoples' needs as tender as a FLOWER is the need of the h...

  Helen Strong
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Requirement for Leadership in a Crisis

Great advice already. One of the most important leadership qualities / most needed is INSIGHT IN SURVIVAL FACTORS. Durin...

  Nassim Rabii
Manager, Tunisia
 

Leadership in Crisis

I guess it is no longer the time to discuss leadership.. You have to be like the boss wants and say what he wants you to...

  Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom
 

The Crisis of Followship

@Nassim Rabii: We talk about ethical-moral leadership & so on but it seems that we even more so require people to decide...

  Michael Norris
Director, United States
 

Breakdown of the Intended Discussion

One must figure that it would only be a matter of time before this discussion broke down into a political forum. Jaap de...

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

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The demeanor, behaviour, example of visible leadership at any level during a crisis is an important and challenging issu...

  Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom
 

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@Graham Williams: Agreed. Management-leadership, it may be argued, is somewhat like Caesar's wife, not only that it 'be ...

  Graham Williams
Management Consultant, South Africa
 

Leadership and Critical Visibility

@Maurice Hogarth: Yes. I read (a while ago, so I've forgotten the source, yet believe in the message) that quite extens...

  Shubhi Kotiya
CxO / Board, Germany
 

Leadership Lessons in Times of Crisis (Pandemic)

There are several issues that are keeping CEOs and their leadership teams worried, as talent shortages, politics and cyb...

  Parag Utekar
Student (MBA), India
 

7Cs of Leadership During the Coronavirus Black Swan

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Michael Norris
Director

Crisis Management (Contingency Planning)
Knowledge Center



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