12 Steps to Guide Your Response

by Rob Marchalonis.

If you are a leader, it’s almost certain you will eventually have to lead through a crisis. The types of crises can vary, but consider those caused by natural disasters, economic circumstances, health concerns, military incidents, social uprisings, relational conflicts, and more which can affect individuals, organizations, communities, or entire countries.

Some crises warrant immediate action, like when a fire erupts or an accident causes injury. Situations like those require immediate attention – summon help, put out the fire, apply first aid, and move to safety. Obviously, it’s a good idea to have procedures, training, supplies, and other resources in place for potential emergencies.

Other crises offer you valuable time to plan, prepare, and lead with more efficiency and effectiveness. As you navigate your next crisis as a leader, consider the steps and sequence below to enhance your leadership response:


Steps to Consider as You Lead Through Crisis:


  1. Pause – for minutes, hours, or longer as needed to avoid harmful over-reaction and to establish a methodical response.
  2. Assess – the situation appropriately with facts and data, trusted news and information sources, experts and associates.
  3. Engage – with others whom you lead or serve to listen, learn, get input, and provide needed comfort and reassurance.
  4. Empathize – with those who are affected or suffering to show your understanding, concern, and desire to be helpful.
  5. Identify – circumstances, issues, risks, and resources which may need attention as well as potential options for each
  6. Prioritize – the most important or critical issues to best allocate your team’s time, money, effort, and other resources.
  7. Protect – consider what is most essential to defend, to ensure the safety and survival of individuals and the organization.
  8. Actions – help workgroup leaders prioritize specific next steps and allocations of time, money, people, and other resources.
  9. Help – consider where your leadership, experience, skills, relationships, and resources can be best utilized to assist others.
  10. Follow-Up – stay in touch with people, priorities, and progress using appropriate communication methods like one-to-ones.
  11. Opportunities – within each crisis, look for new and often unanticipated opportunities to learn, adapt, grow, and prosper.
  12. Celebrate – find opportunities to recognize individuals and workgroups for their effort, progress, success, and victories.

Leaders, at no other time is your leadership more needed than in periods of crisis. When they occur, I hope the list above will help guide your response to lead more thoughtfully, methodically, and successfully.


What Others Say About Crisis Management and Leadership:


WSJ Article on Crisis.

Leading Through Crisis Podcast – Pastor Craig Groeschel  (Search 3/26/2020, COVID-19)

How a Navy SEAL Manages Change.

Warren Buffet on Leadership.


Rob Marchalonis helps businesses navigate through challenges and opportunities with an emphasis on smart Leadership, Strategy, and Processes (LSP). Learn how he can help you at 717-397-3444 or email Rob@LSP123.com ©2020

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