Leading in a Time of Crisis – Top Tips from Dozens of Practitioners

Profile Photos from 20 of the Leaders who Contributed their tips to this article. In front of them is displayed the title Leadership Tips During Crisis

Virtually everyone faces a new normal today. If you lead people, you face additional challenges.

None of us have all the answers. Perhaps together though, we may develop great solutions. We’re here to help. Here is a list of recommendations from people leadership practitioners. They were each asked:

What is your advice for leaders facing a crisis?

Below are their answers, categorized by type of tip. Want to help? Contribute your tip here.

ImageNameTitle/RoleOrganizationOrganization TypeTip CategoriesTip
Tonya Reynolds-Elias from Brookleyn Elias Promise gives leadership advice for times of crisisTonya Reynolds-EliasTeacherBrookelyn Elias PromiseNon-profitCommunicationKnow your people
Their needs and build bridges
I just had the best conversation with a leader in the Nepali community. Why?? Because I know there are needs not being met. So he's translating a letter and making phone calls informing about the newest location for food pick up in our district.
Josh Zoerhof from Ridge Point Community Church  gives leadership advice for times of crisisJosh ZoerhofPastorRidge Point Community ChurchMinistryHumilityMy big thought that I need to tell myself every day: “It’s not all about me.”
Ron Edmondson from Mustard Seed Ministry gives leadership advice for times of crisisRon EdmondsonConsultant, Pastor, TeacherMustard Seed MinistryConsultingCommunicationCommunicate. Communicate. Communicate.
And innovate, innovate, innovate. The work of the church is no less important. Just have to figure out how to do it differently.
Dr. Jack King Retired Lieutenant Colonel from USAF gives leadership advice for times of crisisDr. Jack KingUSAF Lieutenant Colonel (Retired)United States Air ForceMilitaryCareLeadership without love is no leadership at all.
Rick Frens from Hamilton Community Schools gives leadership advice for times of crisisRick FrensPrincipalHamilton Community SchoolsSchoolCommunicationA lot of great things have already been said, I would add two things: be calm in your actions and communication, and model the behavior you expect to see in others.
Jeremie Kubicek from GiANT gives leadership advice for times of crisisJeremie KubicekCEOGiANTConsultingSelf CareA person can’t give what they don’t possess themselves. Therefore, it is crucial that if I am going to serve others that I deal (with) the insecurity this is bringing on a daily basis so I can give peace to those I lead or serve.
Sigrún Gunnarsdóttir from University of Iceland gives leadership advice for times of crisisSigrún GunnarsdóttirAssociate ProfessorUniversity of IcelandSchoolServant-LeadershipMany important elements of servant leadership proof to be very helpful these days for leaders of organizations and societies to ensure the safety of individuals and nations.
Among these are 1) sincere interest in others, 2) self-knowledge, 3) reflection, 4) humility, 5) willingness to work in teams, 6) social responsibility, 7) ability to create an important dream and hope, 8) ability to foresee patterns and 9) skills to make decisions based on observations and best knowledge.
Greenleaf's words about foresight are very much true during these challenging times, as they were before and during the 2008 crisis.
Joe Iarocci from Cairnway gives leadership advice for times of crisisJoe IarocciFounderCairnwayConsultingServant-LeadershipRemember you are a tuning fork (https://serveleadnow.com/tuning-forks/)
Scott Millen from 2 Fish Company gives leadership advice for times of crisisScott MillenManaging Director2 Fish CompanyConsultingHumilityBe willing to sacrifice.
Timothy Haines from Symposia Labs gives leadership advice for times of crisisTimothy HainesOwnerSymposia LabsConsultingHumilityAgreed with Scott (Millen)! Also be transparent about the hardships. Other than that, I’m going with a one day at a time attitude.
Scott Shrader from Vault Wealth Management gives leadership advice for times of crisisScott ShraderPresidentVault Wealth ManagementConsultingCommunicationBe honest, upfront, and transparent about everything. Do what you can to support your team and those around you. Check in on your clients and employees that have supported you all of this time. Check in on charities that you support right now. Nobody is thinking about them, but they are suffering too.
Pat Falotico from Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership gives leadership advice for times of crisisPat FaloticoCEOGreenleaf Center for Servant-LeadershipConsultingCommunicationStay connected!
Ayana Parson from Korn Ferry gives leadership advice for times of crisisAyana ParsonsSenior PartnerKorn FerryConsultingCommunication & AttitudeHere’s my best advice:
1) Check in and communicate frequently with your people. This pandemic is taking a mental toll on most. Letting your people know you’re a listening ear goes a long way.
2) Stay optimistic as leaders. Your people need hope and positivity during times like this.
3) Try to have some virtual fun. Organize virtual happy hours, virtual sweat sessions, etc. Get creative!
4) Lastly, here are some resources from some of my colleagues related to COVID-19
(a href="https://kornferry.com/challenges/coronavirus">kornferry.com/challenges/coronavirus
Rev. Kent Fry from Third Reformed Church in Holland gives leadership advice for times of crisisRev. Kent FrySenior PastorThird Reformed ChurchMinistrySelf CarePeople who have learned the solitary religious life can help us cope.
S. Chris Edmonds from The Purposeful Culture gives leadership advice for times of crisisS. Chris EdmondsPresident, CEO, and FounderThe Purposeful Culture GroupConsultingCommunicationTreat others with dignity & respect in every interaction.
Fallon Nyce from Whirlpool Corporation gives leadership advice for times of crisisFallon NyceIT DirectorWhirlpool CorprorationManufacturingCommunicationA caring text around 5pm, reminding the team to log off and enjoy their families, is a small gesture that goes a long way!
Kevin Munroe from X-Factor Consulting gives leadership advice for times of crisisKevin MonroeSelf-employedX-Factor ConsultingConsultingSelf Care & CommunicationHere are some thoughts I had within the first 24 hours of this being declared a global pandemic:

The ABCs of Leading in Seasons of Uncertainty
A - Be an AMBASSADOR of Authentic LOVE, Compassion, Care, and Kindness
C - Be a CUSHION of CALM in a Sea of Chaos.
To BE the leader your people need please remember to make time and take time for self-care and soul-care.
Keith Dorney former Detroit Lion and Trainer at Financial Knowledge Network gives leadership advice for times of crisisKeith DorneyInstructorFinancial Knowledge NetworkConsultingHumilityTake one for the team. Practice love by unselfishly sheltering in place and forgoing person to person contact. Do it not for yourself but those you love and for all humankind.
John Waymel from St. Dismas Jail Ministry gives leadership advice for times of crisisJohn WaymelPresidentSt. Dismas Jail MinistryMinistryHumilityPrayer for Pandemic:
May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors, remember those who are vulnerable.
May we who have the 'luxury' of working from home, remember those who must choose between preserving their health or paying rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close, remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips, remember those who have no safe place to go.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home, remember those who have no home.
As fear grips our global community, let us choose LOVE.
And during this time when many choose not to wrap arms around each other in fear, let us find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbors!
Scott Garrod from Ferguson Enterprises gives leadership advice for times of crisisScott GarrodDistrict Logistics ManagerFerguson EnterprisesDistributionCommunicationCommunicate, Communicate, Communicate....
Kevin Mendel from Big From Custom T-Shirts gives leadership advice for times of crisisKevin MendelOwnerBig Frog Custom T-Shirts & MoreManufacturingSelf CareKeep yourself healthy and build up your immune system. Citrus fruits and vitamin C.
	David A McCuistion from Compass Leadership gives leadership advice for times of crisisDavid A McCuistionChief Leadership Speaker / Trainer / CoachCompass LeadershipConsultingAttitudeFirst, just know it is NOT the end of the world. You must step back, take a few deep breaths, and work on your experience and resilience. Think, research, consult with a friend, read what others have done in similar situations, then take on the task.
Remember your Core Values and Belief system. Believe in yourself that you can overcome.
Create a Vision of Why you need to overcome the crisis - what you will become because of the crisis.
Create a Mission of of What needs to be done to accomplish the new Vision.
Write some SMART Goals of what is necessary to complete the Mission.
Develop a Plan of Action to accomplish the goals.
Daily work on the Plan to Accomplish the Goals that will achieve the Mission and turn the new Vision into reality.
Believe it and you can achieve it.
	Michael Edwards from The Edwards Group of Texas gives leadership advice for times of crisisMichael EdwardsServant LeaderEdwards Group of TexasConsultingCommunicationLead with purpose, compassion, kindness, and care. Communicate with purpose, compassion, kindness, and care. Your actions today will create followers, friends, and future leaders for life.

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Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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