John Baldoni is an internationally-recognized thought leader in leadership and communications as well as a popular leadership speaker, executive coach and executive educator. John teaches men and women to achieve positive results by focusing on communication, influence, motivation and supervision. And of course, nominee for Best Leadership Blog of 2010.
Leaders Need To Involve Themselves In Crises
by John Baldoni (posted 10/17/10)
Failure to respond to a crisis is a failure of leadership. Timing as in when to become involved is a component of the response.
Case in point is the oil spill in the Gulf. Initially Tony Hayward, then CEO of BP, was actively engaged in the crisis. He even went to Houma, La., to provide on site assistance. Then curiously, likely on the advise of legal counsel, he pulled back and seemed unable to manage the crisis. And it did not help when he said he wanted “to get his life back.” Timeliness was not Hayward’s issue; engagement was.
This was a problem the Union army experienced during the early years of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln found himself afflicted as he said with a general who suffered from the “slows.” Gen. George McClellan, commander of Union forces was an officer who prided himself on preparation and drill. Trouble was he was reluctant to put his well-drilled forces into action. He hung back when he should have attacked and he failed to pursue when he should have pursued. McClelland was a general without any sense of timing or engagement.
When a crisis strikes leaders need to do three things:
In short, John suggests leaders must be seen, be heard, and be there (at the crisis “site”) . . . but you will want to read the rest here.
John advice is sound and practical, even if it isn’t always easy or our first preference. His advice reminds me of what my dad used to say – leaders have to do the hard stuff, because “that’s why you get paid the big bucks.”
Whether you get paid the “big bucks” or not, doing the difficult things comes with the leadership territory.
Perhaps your crisis is much smaller in scope – in your leadership role you likely aren’t responding to hurricanes, broken oil wells, wars or drug recalls. It doesn’t lessen John’s great advice.
How do you lead during crisis?
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