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Leadership Skills for Times of Crisis – Part 2
March 23, 2021

Leadership Skills for Times of Crisis – Part 1

Leadership Styles and Qualities - E-Learning

The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis, the kind of which causes uncertainty, worry, and volatility within the business world and within our personal lives.

During this time of crisis, companies have been disrupted, workers have been furloughed, and offices have moved to remote working practices.

Those in leadership and management positions have had to navigate new problems, develop novel solutions, motivate remote employees, cope with technological issues and new developments, all while juggling their own personal responsibilities, alongside those of work.

Leadership in times of crisis requires an evolution of existing skills, alongside the learning of new ones.

Leaders need to be resilient in the face of adversity.

This article forms part 1 of an exploration into the core skills leaders need in times of crisis, and how to develop them. Part 2 will look into different skills and how to cultivate those.



1. Communication

The high levels of uncertainty throughout the pandemic (including, but not limited to, those linked to business) cause anxiety.

This anxiety pervades every area of our lives from tension around being in public places to worry over long-term job security.

An effective method for overcoming uncertainty and reinforcing optimism, is good communication.

A leader who is able to maintain an open and honest dialogue, communicate shared experiences, and connect with, and motivate, their team, is vital to a business’ success during a crisis.

They will ensure their team is well-informed, have an understanding of individual members situations, and be available when assistance is required.

Communicating in a clear and concise way ensures that there are fewer misunderstandings, team members feel supported, and know what is expected of them.

Good communication skills also ensure leaders are able to effectively (and positively) influence their team, driving motivation, ensuring collaboration and team effectiveness.

Effective communication means implementing the following:

• Active listening – ask open ended questions, clarify and repeat what has been stated by the speaker so it shows you’ve heard what they’ve said

• Keep an open mind – don’t judge others, instead consider their perspective and try to understand where they are coming from. Be mindful of your response to others

• Have empathy – for others and their situation. Show you understand what they are going through and reassure them

• Respect – show you respect other people. Call them by their name, ask them for their opinion and their ideas

• Be friendly – talking to someone who smiles and seems happy is far easier than trying to communicate with someone who looks like they don’t want to be talking to you

• Body language – be open and expressive with your body language, even when you’re in a virtual meeting and only the top half of your body is seen. Smiling, making eye contact, open hand gestures, leaning slightly forward, and the tone of your voice, all highlight your engagement with the conversation.



2. Decision Making

All leaders sometimes need to make tough decisions so the ability to cut through what’s not important and discover the facts is vital in crisis situation.

Managers must be able to get straight to the heart of a problem, look for an effective solution and take efficient action.

Your team will rely on you to be decisive, and give them a sense of direction.

When making decisions the following is process is vital:

• Identify the goal (or problem) – without knowing the destination it is impossible to get there, so ensure you keep your goal foremost in your mind

• Weigh the options – gather as much information as possible then consider your options. Some people like to make a list of pros and cons for a couple of options, others prefer to consider every conceivable avenue and follow the idea through to a conclusion. Take advice if needed, ask your team for input and be open to their responses – a different perspective can work wonders for problem solving. There is no right way to do this, but it is a vital stage that must be completed

• Consider the consequences – ask yourself what are the consequences of each possible solution and see how that fits with your goal. This allows you to review the options you chose in the stage above and ensures further clarity

• Make and evaluate the decision – once you’ve made your decision and seen the results, it is vital that you evaluate them. Learning from our mistakes is essential and this stage really helps to do that.

Similarly, if something goes really well, the it helps to understand what it was that made it a success


Leading a team during a time of crisis is more challenging, without a doubt, and these are just two of the leadership skills required for times of crisis, for more, check out the second part of our blog here.

However, there are many ways to make it less challenging and this is where the Creative Word Training team can help. We understand how difficult it can be to successfully lead a team during this time and have designed courses specifically to help those in leadership roles.

We aim to support those in leadership positions through our dedicated, engaging and informative courses, many of which include ‘soft skills’ components and are available as E-Learning courses.

These ‘soft skills’ help us to grow as leaders, and individuals. They enable us to communicate more effectively, manage our team more efficiently and inspire and motivate those working with us.

You can see our full range of courses here, or click the links in the article for more information on specific topics.