Leadership in a crisis – it is not pretty nor is it comfortable but it can be inspiring.

We have written within numerous articles and on numerous occasions about leadership, about inspiring young talent to aspire towards leadership and about the privilege and obligation which leadership bestows.

However, where we find ourselves in this virus and fear ridden situation, where our industry and the people therein are being taken to breaking point, leadership has to take on another level. The words of Winston Churchill still resonate at this time, “When you are going through hell, keep going.”

Every business and every leader at one stage or another goes through hell through fault or no fault of their own. What makes great leaders is not the crisis but how leaders thrive in spite of the crisis.

According to Forbes, thriving through a crisis is about acumen and maturity but I believe it is also about good behaviours and visible leadership. In a crisis, especially when as a leader you are responsible for the lives and livelihoods of so many, it is easy for leaders to let emotions run high but having a calm disposition is essential. Employees need calm, they need positive reassurance and open communication as this reinforces trust and a good business culture.

Positivity cannot be overestimated. Positivity is the fuel for productivity and without it – regardless of the state of the crisis – fear and stagnation sets in which destroys culture and trust in leadership. Fear is unfortunately contagious, especially when employees feel that their worlds are collapsing around them. This is the most essential time for leaders to calm the ship despite the size of the waves.

Positivity has to go hand in hand with the management of expectations because as we know, our crisis is not set to be overcome overnight but we do know that we will overcome it and we have to believe that there is always hope.

Leadership is a privilege and is often synonymous with fair weather sailing. However in times of crisis I do believe that great leaders are created and where, through their behaviours and compassion, great cultures are reinforced and future leaders are inspired.