Leadership and crisis management are crucial skills for business owners to possess – they can make or break the success of an organization during challenging and tough times.
When unpredictable events occur, it’s essential to be as prepared as possible and equipped with the right strategies to navigate through crises.
Effective leadership requires a unique set of skills (embrace your inner Liam Neeson) – including being able to communicate effectively and having the capacity to make swift decisions, all while maintaining a calm and composed attitude.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips and best practices you can take to develop these skills and successfully manage crises.
From understanding the importance of transparency and empathy to building a crisis management team – these tips will help you stand as a strong leader and guide your business through difficult times.
What is a business crisis?
A business crisis is an unexpected and disruptive event that threatens the stability, reputation, or survival of a company.
Whether it’s a natural disaster, financial crisis, cyber attack, product recall, or a public relations disaster – business crises can have significant and wide-ranging consequences. The negative impacts of a business crisis can include revenue loss, reduced customer loyalty, damaged reputation, and, at the worst, even closure of the business.
Effective crisis management is essential to minimize the impact of a crisis – so, without delay, let’s dive into the five actionable tips on leadership and ultimate crisis management.
1. Information gathering
As the owner of the business, it’s your responsibility to retrieve the most relevant and up-to-date information about the current crisis. Doing so ensures you lead with purpose based on the key knowledge available.
To achieve this, keep track of the news and channels that impact your business. This may include social media channels, government alerts, and industry publications. Set up alerts to stay informed of any changes or developments
2. Establish a crisis management team
A crisis management team is a group of individuals in your organization who are responsible for managing your business’s response to a crisis.
The team should be composed of people from across your business – including senior management, public relations, legal, human resources, IT, and operations.
To create an effective crisis management team, begin by defining roles and responsibilities. Next, identify the decision-makers – these team members will have the authority to make critical decisions quickly and effectively during a crisis.
3. Develop a communication plan
In times of crisis, it is essential for you as a business owner to implement call center manager best practices as part of your crisis management strategy – this ensures effective communication with your customers and stakeholders.
This may involve establishing clear communication protocols, providing ongoing training and support for call center staff, and leveraging technology to manage high call volumes and maintain service levels during the crisis.
Your communications must be clear and concise – if your employees are unsure what’s happening, chances are, they’ll think the worst and panic. It’s your job to ensure that doesn’t happen by effectively communicating what’s happening at every stage.
Keep your employees abreast of the situation by:
- Setting up the channels to communicate active information
- Making sure any information you share is credible
- Providing helpline numbers from reliable sources
- Encouraging employees to refrain from sharing crisis-related news
4. Be responsible and available
In a business crisis, everyone reacts differently. Behave in a proactive and confident way to ensure that your employees are not floundering – but always lead with honesty. It’s better to say “I don’t know” than to create false hope and reassurances. Try to keep expectations low where possible.
It’s important for you as a leader to make yourself available to your team. Consider leveraging technology such as apps like Line2 to facilitate communication with employees, customers, and other stakeholders, ensuring that critical information can be shared quickly and efficiently.
By showing genuine concern and kindness, you can build trust and long-lasting relationships that will benefit the team and the company in the long run.
5. Create resources for future crises
Being an effective and efficient leader means being prepared for anything. A fractional executive can be a valuable resource during a crisis.
Here’s some tips on how to do so:
- Conduct a risk assessment: The first step in creating resources for future crises is to conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential hazards and vulnerabilities that your business may face in the future.
- Develop a crisis management plan: Once you have identified potential risks, look to develop a crisis management plan that outlines how you will respond to different types of crises. The plan should include procedures for communication, evacuation, emergency response, and business continuity.
- Identify critical resources: Resources such as technology, personnel, and supplies are essential for ensuring business continuity. Identify these critical resources and make sure they are readily available in the event of a crisis.
- Create policies and procedures: Consider the legal and financial implications of a crisis, including the potential for wage garnishment, and ensure that the crisis management plan includes a response to such scenarios. It is essential to have policies and procedures in place to address the potential for garnishment of wages and to provide support and guidance to employees who may be affected.
By including measures to address wage garnishment in your crisis management plan, you can help to mitigate the impact of a crisis on your team and business as a whole.
Effective crisis management involves more than just the five tips discussed above. There are many tools and resources available to assist businesses in managing crises, including mentoring software. Consider incorporating mentoring software into your crisis management plan to provide your crisis management team with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively handle crises.
Go forth and lead
The tips we’ve covered on leadership and crisis management highlights the importance of having a well-prepared crisis management plan.
Thinking ahead to how your business handles crises is relevant for all industries – perhaps especially so for the PR industry, as it’s often responsible for managing a company’s reputation and communication during a crisis.
By incorporating these leadership tips into crisis management strategies, PR professionals can help their clients to be better prepared for a crisis by minimizing damage to their reputations and effectively communicating with stakeholders.
Additionally, the use of technology for communication during a crisis can be particularly relevant for the PR industry, as it often plays a critical role in managing a company’s social media presence and responding to inquiries from the media and other stakeholders in real-time.