RESOURCES > BLOG

How to be a good CEO in a crisis?

DETAILS

The Disruptive Leadership Model can help you lead in a crisis, but first you need to manage your own energy as a leader. 

Leading in a crisis is hard. 

A week ago I realised I was failing as a leader. I felt stressed, I didn’t have a clear plan, I wasn’t communicating well enough with my team and our execution was suffering. 

Like many leaders I’ve spoken to, as the crisis evolved, I found myself feeling out of control and under a lot of pressure, commercially and personally. I found I was focusing on trying to solve the things I had control over, and slipping into operator mode.

By taking some time to reflect, and using a simple framework, I was able to get myself back on track quickly. I wanted to share this thought process and framework because I think it could be helpful if you are a leader navigating the current crisis.

“Your first and foremost job as a leader is to take charge of your own energy and then help to orchestrate the energy of those around you.” 

Peter F. Drucker

Drucker is a true leadership guru, credited as being the ‘founder of modern management’. His work, which includes ideas like ‘management by objectives and self-control’, helped shape practical and philosophical foundations of modern businesses. What is in this quotation, is the order: managing yourself and your energy, before those around you. Initially, that can seem jarring, the default is to think about the team and business first, right? But in reality, if you are on the backfoot as a leader, can you really lead those around you effectively?  The problem is less about the substandard decisions you might be making. Your job is to create leverage, so the real cost is the impact you are having on those around you. 

With this in mind, here is a simple process and framework to help you lead yourself and your team, or business effectively in a crisis. 

Manage your own energy first

Take a moment to check in with yourself. How are you doing personally? Are you approaching the crisis on the front foot, or do you feel like you are just surviving? How is this impacting your ability to lead? You can’t change your environment, but with some attention you control which mode you are in.  What could you do to get yourself back on the front foot? What things normally help you to be at your best as a leader? What actions can you commit to now to help you be more at your best? As a word of warning, these are difficult questions to answer and great leaders continue to work on these throughout their careers. It can be helpful to talk it through with your support network, leadership team, family, friends, or a coach if you have one. Check out Leadership Plain and Simple, by Steve Radcliffe and The Inspired Leader, by Andy Bird, which both explore this idea in detail.

A framework to help you lead in a crisis 

The right model can help clarify your thinking, give you confidence that you are working on the right things and most importantly, lead to better outcomes.  At T-minus, we developed The Disruptive Leadership Model by working together with hundreds of startup and scaleup leaders around the world – leaders living and breathing disruption and change. We studied the behaviours that helped them succeed and created a simple, four-stage model to help teach leadership and help solve leadership challenges. Here is how you can apply it in a crisis situation:

Reflect & iterate

In a crisis, like in any situation where things change rapidly, so must our plans. Set a cadence to refresh this process; reflect on what is happening to you personally, how you are leading, whether your vision needs to change, how you are connecting with those around you and whether you and your team are really focused on the right things.

You can complete the above exercise on your own, or with members of your leadership team, in hours rather than days. If you are a leader navigating the stormy waters that lay ahead, lean on the people around you, ensure you take time to look after yourself and use a simple framework like the one above to help you lead successfully.

It goes without saying, but good luck on the journey ahead. Feel free to connect with me or the team at T-minus – we are here to help! 

Ian, ian@wearetminus.com

SHARE THIS RESOURCE

Related insights and casestudies

Thought Machine

RESOURCES

TOOLS 24.01.16
Resilience is more than a buzzword!
TOOLS 24.01.15
Unlocking motivation on Blue Monday
TOOLS 24.01.02
The Disruptive Leadership Report
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.11.08
Chiefs for Change 16 Oct | Event takeaways
BLOG 23.11.08
DE&I champion Fiona Barron joins T– as Leadership Development Director and launches the Gender Equity Collective
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.11.07
The Gift of Feedback
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.10.23
What about men?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.10.10
Own your impact: Sustaining high performance
TOOLS 23.09.27
Introducing The Gender Equity Collective | Brand Book
TOOLS 23.09.27
How can business leaders create blinding clarity and simplicity in their workforce?
TOOLS 23.08.22
‘Know you know nothing. Know how to solve problems and know who to ask’
BLOG 23.08.16
Neuroscience expert Nicola Skorko joins T– as Leadership Development Lead
BLOG 23.07.19
The T– Leadership Generator
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.26
How to create and scale a culture of experimentation
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.20
How can leaders create a new generation of truly inclusive organisations?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
Leading through disruption
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
How do we prevent our organisations from breaking as we seek to defend the next crisis and go for the next phase of growth?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
What is the value of deep self-awareness for organisations?
EVENT TAKEAWAY 23.06.13
Why is delivering against purpose so hard to do and what lessons can we learn from successful leaders who’ve done it?
BLOG 23.06.13
How NOT to set up a Corporate Innovation Team
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
5 steps to help you take control of your time (and your role)
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
7 ways coaching will unlock your leadership potential
BLOG 23.06.13
How to be a good CEO in a crisis?
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
What’s the best approach to building the resilience of our teams and leaders?
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Addressing the systemic barriers to women’s progress
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
How to find answers when you don’t know the questions
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
If it’s not safe to fail, then your business isn’t safe either
BLOG 23.06.13
Mhairi McEwan joins T-minus as board advisor
BLOG 23.06.13
Business psychologist, Ben Foulkes, joins T-minus as director
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Will you survive the next market shift? Five questions would-be disruptors need to ask
BLOG 23.06.13
T-minus offsite: Leading in nature
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Five proven ways to tackle collective stress
INSIGHTS 23.06.13
Startup vs. Corporate: who is modelling the future of leadership?
Where next?