There are a number of online materials and resources that will tell you the qualities of a great leader during a crisis. It is important to know these things so that when you are called upon to step up and take charge, you would know how to conduct yourself.
We are not leadership experts nor do we claim to know any more than you do when it comes to leadership. But having been forced to watch the news around the world because of this current global crisis, we have come upon leadership stories that offer both the dos and the don’ts. And for this article, we are focusing on the behavior you need to avoid when you find yourselves being called to lead your respective organization.
1. Insist that you and you alone have all the answers.
The chances of you actually having all the answers is obviously less than the chances of a creative solution coming from more brains working together. So get over yourself and allow those around you to contribute to finding the answers. Consider also that in a crisis situation, you do not have the luxury of time. Besides, there are far too many things that need resolving so relying only on one person to fix everything is, by all means, not the smartest move.
2. Ignore the science and the data in front of you.
Sometimes the mixed emotions and the unbelievable pressure can get to you. But try not to let these cloud your judgment. There are big stakes to be considered and there are a million decisions to be made. In most instances, the best decisions are those based on scientific evidence and credible data. When the weight of the world rests upon your shoulders, it is always best to look at the facts and move forward from there.
3. Focus on your own self-interest.
Regardless of how you got into the position of leadership, being there automatically means that there are interests other than your own that you need to consider. If you want to lose your credibility and the commitment of others then there is no faster way to achieve this than by prioritizing your needs over everybody else’s. Otherwise, you need to work at addressing the needs of the many, and perhaps disregarding yours for the time being.
4. Alienate people who may be able to help manage the situation.
If you end up doing the first three things on this list, then you are well on your way to achieving nos. 4. Nobody would want to work with you if you make others feel they have no role to play, that facts don’t matter, and that your personal agenda comes first. Then there is also a way of alienating others by just being your usual rude, disrespectful, and antagonistic self. So if you prefer to be respected, followed, supported, and perhaps even loved, it will do you well to build and galvanize your coalition rather than divide people.
5. Act as if the rules don’t apply to you.
It would be hard to make others follow your directions if they see that you yourself are not inclined to walk the talk. This point may not have a direct impact as the four earlier points but this one will achieve the same effect — you losing all respect and credibility and ultimately earning the hatred of the entire community.
So the next time you come across news about leaders, you can check if they are not being a leader by reviewing if their actions run similar to the list above. You may not be able to assess if they are the greatest leaders, but you can tell that they are definitely not even among the good ones.