Crisis Leadership and Resilience – 6 Tips

by | Apr 6, 2020

I have dealt with crisis many times before, in management of it and latterly as a communicator. Currently I am only on the periphery of this one, so it’s given me time to reflect. This situation is not going away soon and I suggest that those involved in the depths of this crisis are starting to feel exceptionally tired, jaded and susceptible to illness and mistakes. So how do we maintain resilience?

Here are 6 tips to build individual and team resilience, which I hope is not too patronising and perhaps gives some pause for thought:


1 Take a Break – Have a Deputy

This is not about being an indispensable hero – you are a hero just by being present – but a broken hero is no good. This crisis is demanding round the clock intense activity but it doesn’t mean work until you keel over. Routine breaks are vital. I think it’s also important that when you have finished work you actually leave or, in the current crisis of remote working, you sign off online and that means keeping of work social media. If you stay engaged, then the temptation is to interfere and that begins to question trust and creates resentment. I have definitely seen this happen and it does not help effective crisis management. Leaders at all levels need to designate deputies, so that you can also take time to eat properly, take some exercise and chill a bit. Trust those deputies folks.

2 Requesting Help is Not a Weakness

On this heroic theme – not asking for help is not helpful. In the military I saw many senior leaders enhance how they do business, by being proactive in asking for help and assistance, sooner rather than later. It’s tempting to strive on alone to prove yourself – don’t.


3 Exercise

I won’t insult your intelligence by stating the obvious about eating properly and avoiding alcohol but for me the priority is exercise, even if it’s only taking a ten-minute walk, or stretch, or yoga….anything. It does make a difference to mental well-being, we all know that but you need to make time to do it. How about putting it into your work plan? 

4 Be Connected – Your Social Network adds Context

How amazing that with our technology we can stay well connected. We know a crisis can become all-consuming but a few minutes spent with your social support network is a valuable morale booster and it adds context to what you are doing. The important bit again is planning time to connect.

5 Communicate  Communicate  Communicate

I would say this because I’m a professional communicator but it’s obvious really – communication is critical in a crisis. I would suggest over communicating to try and stop the rumours running because as we know, the truth walks.

6 Don’t be Frightened to Laugh a Bit

The current situation is tough with has many tragic and poignant moments but we know humour is a stress reliever.  Be sensitive obviously but don’t be frightened about using humour – there’s always room for a laugh somewhere in the day.