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The Role of Leader as a Crisis Manager in Stressful Situations

Times of crisis hits almost all organizations due to worldwide crises such as natural disasters, technological crises, and confrontations and at these times when individuals or groups fight to win their expectations and demands, a leader’s role cannot be underestimated. Accomplished leaders play an extremely important role during a crisis and must manage any situation especially when it comes to crisis management. In a stressful situation, a leader needs to act not to plan. This means crisis management in traumatic situations needs to be planned in advance, not in the time of the crisis. Acting swiftly and sensibly is the key to lead an organization that has been in disruptive and unexpected events which threaten to harm the organization or its stakeholders.”

Leaders role in conducting employees in times of crisis

Leaders should lead from the front by showing confidence and diligence. Critical thinking plays an important role in evaluating the current situations and resources. When leaders take complete charge of the situation employees will feel supported and organizational trust increases in the employees which might be immensely worthwhile during stressful situations. It may lead managers to have full control over the employees. This conveys that they must know what is happening around to ascertain nothing is neglected in the initial stage and foresee what is happening next. Problems might occur abruptly and they should take every single minor issue into consideration and not wait for someone else to take the initiative, meaning that they need to resolve the dilemma immediately. Any unattended issues might lead to crisis and major dissension later.

What measures should be taken by leaders in stressful situations?

When early signs of crisis are detected, competent leaders, being alert, take action and warn the employees against negative consequences, and take precautionary measures to avoid an emergency situation. At the time of crisis, a leader needs to act promptly not hurriedly which connotes that he needs to bestow direction and riposte to the situation in a timely fashion whereas by acting hurriedly nothing is gained but making people nervous that by all means a less satisfactory situation. This means that deliberateness matters as well as speed. During hardships, a praising leader is good at “signal detection” which means to foresee any potential complications. When trouble strikes everyone wants it to be over quickly but this quick kind of resolution is possible in few cases so managing expectations is the key to crisis management in general. Added to this, one should consider that disasters happen and it is not the disaster to be controlled but the response to the situation is controlled.

How to prevent a crisis?

Most significant role of a leader is to prevent crisis and this can be gained by encouraging effective communication at the workplace, asking employees not to panic at the time of crisis, encouraging them to face the tough times with courage and determination. He concluded that leaders’ role is to encourage employees to work as a single unit in stressful situations by providing a sense of direction for the employees.

Planning and employee training are two essential factors to mitigate pitfalls in stressful situations

Furthermore, every individual needs to rebuild for future growth with the leader being creative in supporting structures making up teams for the time of growth. Many leaders miss the important step of rebuilding a plan i.e. a crisis management plan. To achieve this, one should interact with the employees more often and impart necessary crisis management training to the employees so that everyone at the workplace is well informed about any forthcoming emergency situations. Moreover, important processes and systems need to be considered to avoid any negativity being crept within the organization besides alternate plans with correct and accurate information need to be developed. Employees need to trust each other so everyone would benefit in stressful situations by the feeling of unity and leaders take strict actions to prevent those spreading rumors. Considering stakeholders, external parties, and media, leaders need to meet with them to explain the whole situation as it is obvious that ignoring people makes things worse. A strong partnership with external parties is a key to strong crisis management.


A leader’s role is not peculiar to the time of crisis but a good leader anticipates any difficulties that might happen, makes precautions and communicates it with the organization individuals, groups and managers, acts swiftly, and strive hard to come out of tough times promptly and when the organization is out of stressful situations, it is the leader’s role to communicate the lessons learned so that employees do not commit same mistakes again.  A leader needs to have the ability to adapt rapidly and adeptly to changes and new situations. Keeping in mind that the first strategy is not always the best, a leader must continue to ingest new information, listen carefully, and consult with the forefront experts who know what is in place.

Mehrzad Ferdows

Published inarticles

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