If you’ve been in the workplace for any period of time, you’ve probably encountered someone who fits the description of a Productive Narcissist. In fact, you might have even hired the person yourself, unaware that certain personality traits would turn your star performer into a costly management “black hole.”
A crisis by definition involves an abnormal state. So let us be clear: the coronavirus pandemic has not ushered in a new normal but an abnormal social and economic dislocation unlike anything in memory. To be effective in battling this existential threat to life and economic well-being, organizational leaders need a playbook that prioritizes speed, flexibility and adaptability in managing uncertainty.
Here are three people priority focus areas for leading effectively in the NEW ABNORMAL.
Crisis situations, whether they are the result of natural or man-made disasters, are the ultimate leadership test. In the first two decades of this century public and private sector leaders have had to deal with the 9/11 terrorist strikes, the 2008-2009 financial recession, devastating hurricanes, and business-crippling cyber attacks. Now the novel coronavirus pandemic presents unparalleled challenges of intervention, coordination and collaboration both within and across countries globally.
As Jawaharlal Nehru noted, “Every little thing counts in a crisis.”
Here are six field-tested pointers for leading effectively in tough, turbulent times.
Security failures and questionable business practices are among the latest bad news afflicting Facebook. Boeing, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Deutsche Bank are examples of other companies that have been in crisis communication mode lately.
These high-profile cases are a timely reminder that business crisis situations, whether they’re the result of questionable executive judgment, cyber attacks, industrial accidents, or natural disasters, are the ultimate leadership challenge.
Intense public scrutiny and 24/7 media coverage mean that leaders’ actions and – even more importantly – their reactions are both high-stakes and high-visibility.
Indeed, how leaders react to a crisis can make the difference between successfully navigating through turbulent times and crashing on the rocks. Individual and organizational reputations are on the line.
But here’s the rub: When leaders and their board directors are under pressure, they – like all people – are at greater risk of behaving in ways that are defensive and maladaptive. Let’s take a look at the most common ineffective responses to crisis situations.
Understanding risk is at the core of management and board effectiveness. Every day decision makers consider options and make choices based on their expert judgment and analysis of probable success.
But there is one business risk that can lurk outside leaders’ awareness. In fact, this risk comes from inside their own heads in the form of mental biases. And no one is immune.