Hard Work, Training, Practice make good crisis leaders

“Adversity does not build character it reveals it” James Lane Allen.

“Her calm leadership under incredible pressure it what made us successful today!” You have heard a statement similar to this before and maybe said it yourself. Reflect on a leader who you are familiar with: a boss, a coach, a political leader, a coworker, who successfully deals with crisis after crisis. How do they maintain their poise and steady leadership while embroiled in a situation rife with challenges, imperfect information, and severe consequences caused by their decisions?

My premise: They are not just great crisis leaders, they are great leaders because they live by and continually practice the values required to lead under duress.

Crisis leaders are decisive, selfless, focused on the mission, the good of the organization, and its people. They communicate clearly, are trusted, and have the courage to speak and stand by their convictions. They do this all the time, not only in response to a crisis. Living and practicing those values with every interaction regardless of its magnitude builds the “crisis leader” muscles.

Core values are the foundation of our being, drive our behavior, and are what is personally most important to us. In times of crisis our personal façade is torn away and our core values are bare for everyone to see. If you feel you are unable to lead in a crisis – maybe it is time to examine how you handle your daily small predicaments. Will the values “muscles” you are exercising serve you in the next major crisis you encounter?

You cannot show up on game day and expect to win without preparation!