12 May Role of a leader during crisis
As markets are rapidly evolving and global influence has become more prominent, uncertainties have become part of life. Role of the leader becomes more relevant during such crisis. Uncertainties, in fact, presents the opportunity to further evolve for an organization. General tendency during the crisis is to focus on what worked best in the past and adhere to it. This tendency stops the organization to innovate further. Uncertainty in an organization tends to create rumours and amplify political rumblings and break the common thread of communication. This further fuels uncertainty and tension amongst team members. This makes it difficult for further team leaders to trust the hierarchy and reduces their ability to perform.
According to Paul Schoemaker, a strategy specialist and research director of Wharton’s Mack Center for Technological Innovation, “Managers must develop the capacity to move toward those changes that will occur in the future and introduce an element for flexibility in their strategies.” A leader who is able to engage his team and use this phase to propel learning and create disruption infact survives the tide. It is very essential for leader to be authentic during the crisis as employees are expecting leaders to walk the talk. Crisis assess leader in terms of their moral values, balanced processing of information, relational transparency maintained with subordinates and most critical is self-awareness demonstrated by them.
Drawing further inference from Schoemaker, the qualities of a true leader required during the crisis are the ability to face the unknown, curiosity of the leader, skills at anticipating the events and changes, managing team and garner their trust. Drawing inspiration from great leaders like Indira Nooyi and Jeffery Immelt, it is essential to replace managers acting with the twentieth-century mindset of absolute control. Role of a leader during a crisis, should be to lead the team proactively, stick to moral values and engage employees passionately to think differently.
-by Dr. Beena Prakash