Crisis Leadership

Crisis Leadership
    Arun Kumar Chattopadhyay
    Corporate Trainer

    We all know the importance of leadership and leaders for the success and continued success of an organization. A leader more often sets examples for his team to think in an innovative way, to think out of the box and think much above the heights of the competitors. However, a leader is respected and regarded as a hero when he is driving out his organization from a crisis situation and has the unique capability of converting the crisis into an opportunity. Thus, a corporate training program on leadership for future leaders must focus on crisis leadership as a unique point to cover. It has the components of emotional intelligence training as well.

    General Characteristics of a Leader:

    A leader must have the following necessary capabilities:

    – Intelligence,
    – a strong personality and
    – intuition

    Manager and Leader – a Clear Demarcation:

    In a crisis situation, an organization needs a leader more than a manager, e.g.

    – A manager looks at the final total line of the end-of-period profit-loss chart (say every quarter, every six months and yearly figures), a leader apart from those routine things, also looks at the horizon line and plan for future well in advance (next year, next 3 years, next five years etc.).

    – A manager focuses on systems, supervisions, processes, policies and the structure, a leader focuses on future goals based on the analytics in hand with full consideration of the internal and external environment. A leader is also focusing on reliability and human relations.

    – In a crisis situation, a manager always focuses on the continuity of the present and continue regular activities, meeting daily targets whereas a leader focuses on creating opportunity, creating a strong base for growth, building relationship, harmony and agility.

    Crisis Leadership
    Leaders Create a Picture for the Future:

    – he/she shall be able to unite people together and activate them,
    – he/she shall leave a trace behind and create a difference.
    – Leaders create a picture for the future with their cognitive and intellectual experiences. This is the vision of leaders.
    – Leaders follow their messages and the people around them follow the leaders.

    Leadership in Crisis Situation:

    Leaders that qualify for “crisis states leadership” value

    – self-improvement,
    – independent thinking and
    – initiative taking;

    they do not like bureaucracy and they balance between their business lives and private lives

    The Pillars of Leadership During Crisis

    Crisis can be economic recessions, global health emergencies, or unforeseen internal challenges. All such things are the challenges to demonstrate leadership qualities. During these times, leaders are not just tasked with guiding their teams but also with instilling hope, fostering resilience, and providing a clear vision for the future.

    Visionary Thinking – Even during the chaos, great leaders can look beyond the immediate challenges and envision a path forward. This forward-thinking approach provides direction and instils hope in stakeholders.

    Emotional Intelligence – A leader’s ability to recognise, understand, and manage their own emotions, as well as those of their team, is crucial. It’s this emotional intelligence that allows leaders to connect with their teams on a deeper level, offering support and understanding.

    True leaders have their solutions in mind, that’s why they are optimistic. This energy influences the others around them, because states of crisis are periods when people desire for the change of circumstances and creation of a difference.

    Crisis Managment
    Important Points for Leaders in a Crisis Situation:

    – A very important point of crisis management is the achievement factor. It is not only necessary to perform the duty but also to reflect all characteristics of leadership in the context. Managers become leaders if they are courageous and are able to manage risks in extraordinary situations.

    – Leadership can enable people to come to the forefront against a risk and to come up with an unexpected offer when ordinary people have accepted the lack of alternatives. (Tutar, 2004) A leader is born when there comes the need for crisis management.

    – Leadership emerges in crisis moment and lightens the path, creates sources, guides the way, takes decisions, initiates and operates actions.

    – During states of crisis people need powerful, self-confident and accessible leaders.

    – Leaders shall overcome the state of crisis where there is a chaos environment in the organization, they shall restructure the organization and adopt it to the changing environmental circumstances.


    So, we can conclude that, a leader has a significant role in crisis management. Thus, it is necessary to study the characteristics of a leader in crisis management. Qualifications of leader managers regarding crisis management can be stated as below

    – the ability to catch the signals of crisis.
    – Preparation and protection against crisis.
    – Efficient decision taking throughout the crisis management process.
    – The ability to use power throughout the crisis management process.
    – The ability to plan the crisis management process.
    – The ability to organize the crisis management process.
    – The ability to ensure communication throughout the crisis management process.
    – The ability to ensure coordination throughout the crisis management process.
    – The ability to supervise the crisis management process.
    – The ability to shift to normal state.
    – The ability to learn and assess throughout the crisis management process.


    2 responses to “Crisis Leadership”

    1. SANGEETHA. A says:

      Nice Article Sir

    2. Bireswar Mitra says:

      Excellent article. Extremely relevant and important in present Crisisis Management scenario.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *