Security failures and questionable business practices are among the latest bad news afflicting Facebook. Johnson & Johnson, PG&E, 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.