Leading Through Crisis
How to Keep Moving Forward in Times of Stress
Andy Stanley Podcast
Leading in Uncertain Times
A Message from The FOR Company:
“Am I doing enough?”
It’s a question I’m sure you’re asking because you care for people and lead them well.
And, in a crisis like this, there is an endless list of things we could be doing.
But don’t let that take you away from the one thing you must be doing.
As Rudyard Kipling said in his classic poem, IF:
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs….”
In other words, what we need most right now is your calm leadership.
Crisis Leadership needs Calm Leadership.
This in no way diminishes the seriousness of this crisis, or any other.
History teaches us that leaders who led the best were those who remained calm the most.
The reason is that leaders who remain calm simply make better decisions.
Calm leaders don’t deny the crisis. Calm leaders define the crisis.
The “sky is falling” doesn’t define the crisis. Clearly communicating the specific ways this crisis is challenging your organization and providing ways to deal with those challenges are what calm leaders do. Yes, action is needed, but the calm leader is the one who often takes the best action.
As you continue to lead in this crisis, I wanted to send you five tips to help. As you already know, the team is looking between the lines to see what you really think. The more calm you are, the more assured they will be.
1. Calm leaders play the long-game.
Yes, these are unprecedented days. And yet, everyone agrees that this crisis, like all others, will eventually pass. Knowing this, what can you do to make decisions that impact both now and when the crisis is over? For example, yesterday I told our team to think about the first four Sundays post-crisis. What can we do now that will shape the first month when we are back together as a church? Play the long-game.
2. Calm leaders are visible.
Being a visible leader is a bit more challenging in the days of social distancing. This is why technology is such a gift. For example, I am communicating daily on our staff communication channel with a video, or Bible verse, or a quick update. The team you serve needs to see you and hear from you, more consistently now than ever before. Once again, this is a lesson we learn from history. The fireside chats from President Roosevelt are a perfect example. The opportunity for the country to hear from their leader and to sense his calm leadership reassured everyone during World War II.
The takeaway from this is to increase your visibility via technology to your team. Try to send something to them on a daily basis.
3. Calm leaders speak hope.
Your language is very, very important — both in words and body language.
The team and those you serve are waiting to hear from you. They are going to read between the lines.
Ultimately, you are going to have to answer, either with words or tone, these kinds of questions:
Are we going to get through this?
Are you hopeful or worried?
Should I be nervous?
4. Calm leaders balance uncertainty with confidence.
“I don’t know” is a perfectly fine answer with the challenges coming your way. It’s been 100 years since the last pandemic. We are all rookies at this. Calm leaders respond by saying, “I don’t know but together with the Lord’s help, we are going to figure this out.”
If you’re like me, there is a natural insecurity that rises up accusing me of needing to know all the answers. Don’t listen to that voice. Remind your team (and yourself) that “We is smarter than me.” Don’t let the uncertainty paralyze you. See it as a game, a puzzle to figure out and tell the team you are confident we will figure this out.
5. Calm leaders practice self-care.
How are you dealing with the stress and anxiety? If you don’t have a plan to deal with the stress, that’s your plan. And, with all due respect, that’s not a good plan. Mornings are your friend. They help set the tone for the next possible wave of uncertainty. Here is my plan for the mornings:
Write down 7 things I’m grateful for.
Review my action items for the day.
Additionally, don’t forget this helpful principle: A great day begins the night before. The best gift you can give the team is a healthy, replenished, calm you. This doesn’t happen by accident. What’s your game plan?
As hard as this might be to believe, we will get through this. This crisis, like all others, will eventually pass. What we do now and how we lead will shape the story we tell.
We are all writing a story in these days.
Remain calm and you’ll write a great one.
PS. Have you heard about our great resource to get started being FOR your community? Here’s a link: FOR STARTER KIT
John Maxwell Leading Through Crisis Day 1
John Maxwell Leading Through Crisis Day 2
John Maxwell Leading Through Crisis Day 3
Darren Hardy Leading Through the COVID-19 Crisis