Crisis Management or leadership in times of crisis is a complicated process altogether. The leaders to manage any crisis must be prepared to face any tough situation whatsoever and correctly respond to situations. The position of the leaders is very critical to any organization as there is a constant fear that some of their decisions may go right and some may even become disasters causing considerable losses to the company. For any flight to take off, the accuracy and expertise of the pilot are essential, and similarly, for the excellent health of the Organization, the expertise and leadership skills of the leader is an essential factor. Keeping in mind the vastness and depth of the subject, the topic has been divided into different chapters, and the same has been explained in brief below.
Starting with the fundamental conceptions of Leadership, the foremost thing is defining the very concept of leadership. Due to the vastness of the subject, understanding precisely what is leadership and the meaning of leadership in a crisis is important and the same has been done. Leaders are those people who drift along in organizations guiding those under them and bringing a change to the organization. The change they bring may be positive or negative and completely depends on the leader leading the entire organization. Such is the importance of a leader taking the driver seat in the Organization. Further, there are many characteristics a leader must have, including empathy, appropriate competence, willpower to take things on the right track, positivity and much more. Only with these qualities, a leader can be suitable for crisis based situations and do better for everyone.
Every Organization beginning from the starting stages face many hurdles. Most of them are pragmatic and it is necessary to strike a balance between the issues and the exact functioning of the organization. Challenges include both internal and external pressure. External challenges include Economic aspects like inflation, wage increase, price of shares and stocks falling or increasing, etc. Social problems include changes to the structure of the organization according to change in laws, social reforms, environmental changes and much more. There are technological challenges which come in the form of software corruption, technical breakdowns and slowing of the process. On the internal side, conflicts between employees, unwanted competition, no skills, lack of efficient process management and such issues come up as challenges. In all such cases, the leadership needs to be accurate to overcome and continue the good work.
Many bad examples are available where the leaders have invariably failed to tackle situations and challenges. Some of the causes for the same can be a lack of vision, lack of integrity, lack of communication skills, no efficient performance, no management capabilities, etc. These inabilities have even led many organizations to be destructive or toxic and worsened the situation. At the time of inflation, many companies could not adjust to the growing issues and withdrew from business. The situation was same during the enactment of GST in India when due to lack of efficient leadership, many companies shut their operations. The impacts were seen in personal aspects, team level and even organizational level and the impacts were worse. The Toxic work level deteriorates the position of the entire organization and ultimately leads to conflicts and breakdown of the entire unit.
The situation of crisis is the perfect platform for people to react and leaders to showcase whether they are good or bad. The best quality of a good leader is the reaction he gives to the crisis and the strategy with which he/she takes the thing ahead. Leaders must be far-sighted and have a clear vision of action which could even work out in unforeseen circumstances. Another important quality to have is the reading of the upcoming threat, which is possible only with high alertness and excellent communications. In all the times of issues and challenges, the leaders must always confront the employees and motivate them and induce positive thinking and the same must also be possible from the side of the employee. Without appropriate coordination, the leaders cannot take ahead the situation and bring out the company forward. Only with a clear plan and defined roles, the team could also work in focus to bring forward the organization.
Much of the practical examples lie in front of companies to look and learn where the leaders have taken the entire responsibility and carried forward the severe conditions of the Company. Leading from the front is the true identity of any leader, and such instances have been seen in the cases of PepsiCo, Star Buck’s Coffee, JetBlue, Johnson & Johnson, etc. These cases have witnessed the leaders coming in front to accept publicly any wrong that has been done to the public, and the same has been invariably repaired. There was a stage when the whole company of PepsiCo was about to close owing to many particles found in the can. To win over the trust, the CEO came in front, apologized to the public and proved that such acts were committed by the enemies of the companies and won over the adverse circumstances. This is the real sign of a good leader who can lead the entire organization in stages of a crisis. Today, being a good leader is even more difficult as the competition is tight and it takes a toll on leaders to lead in such difficult circumstances. Thus, leadership in crisis in itself is a great tenet for the leaders and many companies today are giving special training to their teams to look at circumstances and learn and take the organization forward.