You may do everything right. You will still inevitably face a crisis. It may happen directly to you or your organization. How do you handle this crisis? How do you prepare for it? The way you respond to the crisis will always determine the quality of recovery.
Hopefully, you will not need these now. Store these ideas in a safe place and refer to them when that crisis appears.
What NOT to do in Crisis
Dictionary.com states panic is "a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior." You will make a bad decision if you panic. It may even dive you deeper into crisis. Take a deep breath, find your happy place, and write our the decisions you think best. Look over "your about to be made" decision and see if it makes sense for what you are trying to accomplish.
It may be no ones fault or it may be a few who are at fault. Pointing fingers will get you nowhere. This also includes not blaming yourself. If it is not helpful, don't spend time doing it. The number one objective is to get through it, not blame someone. After the crisis you can reflect and make changes to avoid crisis.
My son likes to play hide and seek. However, for him he sits in the middle of the room and covers his eyes when he is supposed to be hiding. "If I can't see you, you can't see me." This, of course, is ridiculous. Cute? Yes. Yet, how many of us hide from the reality that this is happening. Pretending it isn't there will not make it so.
The crisis will not go away. Deciding to run away will make it worse and how will you grow in your leadership if those you lead see you as a coward. Cowards quit!
Fear of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing will lead you to do nothing. This nothing will make the problem worse. Be wise what you reveal and how you begin the process of fixing the issue. Be proactive with information. In the absence of information, people will make something up and it is always worse than what the truth is.
What TO DO in Crisis
1. Seek Help
Do you have an emergency contact list. Put them on stand-by until that time comes. Personally, I have 4 professionals that have proven excellent in time of crisis. I call my pastor, a wise friend, the chief of police of a nearby town, and I find someone that has been through this sort of thing before.
2. Ask the right questions
This is especially true if you are not in charge of the crisis management. You most likely work for a group that will handle this issue. What is your role in all of it?
- What do I need to do to stop the crisis and begin the rebuilding process?
- Who is the mouthpiece for our communication?
- What is the time frame of our communication?
- Who is working together to fix this problem? Who is on the team?
- What is our next move?
- How do I fit in the process of crisis management?
You will come out of the crisis one way or another. Face it head on and find out what you are made of. Good leaders only prove they are "good" in times of crisis. Make a plan for the next time this happens. What could you have done differently? What did you do well?
Wisdom comes from experience. Most of the time these experiences are failed attempts to correct the crisis. Learn from it, learn from others, and become a better leader. This crisis will make you a better leader if you face it head on.