5 Things To Not Do During A Crisis

Who knows when the COVID-19 crisis will end. I don’t. You don’t. The world doesn’t.

That’s okay. We don’t need to know when a crisis will end. We only need to know how to lead through a crisis.

Man standing over manhole cover

Photo by Viktor Mogilat

However, too many leaders lead poorly through a crisis. Many through no fault of their own. It’s that they’ve never been taught how to lead during a trying time.

These leaders stumble and falter. They do their best but they can’t seem to get their team through.

I’ve found many leaders are leading wrong through a crisis. They’re trying to lead like they used to. Unfortunately, old leadership methods don’t work during crises.

5 Things To Not Do During A Crisis

So, what are those things leaders do wrong during a crisis? I’ve come to the conclusion there are 5 things leaders need to not do. They are:


Panic is the first thing someone wants to do when there’s a crisis. The world is falling apart and it is never going to be the same again. So we panic…

Panic doesn’t help anyone. In fact, panic hurts you, your team, and your organization.

Panic creates chaos. Chaos is not what we need during a crisis.

Instead, recognize there is a crisis. Process the crisis. Then work on a solution to calmly resolve the crisis.

2. Do nothing:

This one is a bit of a tongue twister but leaders can not do nothing when a crisis strikes. Leadership calls leaders to step up to the plate when the crap hits the fan.

Leaders are a special breed. They go into action when a crisis strikes. They begin to look for solutions and then work on those solutions.

Instead of freezing when a crisis hits, find the next action step to take. Then take it.

3. Be unemotional:

I’m not conflicting with the first item I shared. Being emotional is different from panicking.

Everyone will have an emotional response to a crisis. They will feel highs and lows. They will feel confused and disoriented (by the way, what day is it today?).

Emotions aren’t bad for a leader to display. Uncontrolled emotions, yes. But relating to your team by sharing how you feel will help your team realize they are not in this alone. The ones leading them have an emotional reaction to the crisis as well.

Be emotional. Show your team the crisis hurts and impacts you as well.

4. Stop communicating:

One of the worst things you can do to your team is to stop communicating during a crisis. The COVID-19/Coronavirus crisis has shown the world businesses can grind to a halt. It also shows there can be massive disruptions to your team and working environment.

Your team may have to work from home or in isolated areas. The lines of communication that once were are no more.

This doesn’t mean you stop communicating. I think it means you communicate even more.

Text messages can let your team know you’re thinking of them. Zoom chats can help you see one another while you meet about an important topic. Or, there’s always the trusty telephone call.

Make sure you’re communicating with your team during a crisis. Communicate what the business is doing. Communicate you care about their situation. Communicate you are there for them.

5. Stop developing other leaders:

During a crisis, you may not interact with your team members on a day-to-day basis. In this time, it is easy to forget about the development paths your team members have been on. Or you may think they have it handled.

You don’t… so why would they?

You need to find a way to help your team members continue growing. There are many ways you can do this. You can:

  • Find out their address and mail them a book you think may benefit them
  • Open a LinkedIn Learning account so they can continue to learn from other experts
  • Discover a YouTube video that is pertinent to their role
  • Share a great blog (like this one!) with your team

Developing other leaders is a never-ending process. It doesn’t end when a crisis hits. Keep developing those leaders!

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