How does a crisis help develop leadership?

Nashville night skyline - Photo credit @yellowumbrellaphoto
Photo credit @yellowumbrellaphoto

I live in the Nashville, TN area, which was struck by a devastating tornado earlier this week. 25 people lost their lives and numerous structures were destroyed, or severely damaged. Nashville has dealt with tornados before and a severe flood, so it’s no stranger to nature’s destructive side. What is amazing is how quickly communities rallied to support complete strangers, in their time of need. One great thing about the support is even during an election cycle it didn’t matter what political party people affiliate with, or what candidate they support. People were there to just offer a hand, or to be a shoulder to cry on. Crisis has a way of forging leaders, and bringing some down. In the midst of a crisis, new leaders may emerge because they feel compelled to do something – either because they can’t just “sit on the sidelines”, or they feel the people in charge aren’t doing a good job. One thing you will notice about an emerging leader, in a crisis, is they are directly involved. They are on the ground, doing the work, right along with everyone else. In many cases you will see them working in one area, then moments later they are somewhere else because they are showing people how to do the work, and not waiting for someone else to take charge. In the moment, they probably aren’t thinking about being a leader, they just see a problem and attack it. The “leaders” who are hanging on the fringes giving orders and directing people may think they are doing their job, but how many people are looking at them thinking, “Why don’t you roll up your sleeves and jump in?!” Too many times leaders fall into the trap thinking managing and leading are the same thing, and that leaders can still lead when they are working alongside of their team. The benefit to the involved leader is their team will trust them more as a result. Teams that trust their leader just perform better. If you don’t believe that, watch what happens to a team when the leader doesn’t get directly involved, in a crisis situation. They will lose respect for the leader and stop giving their best efforts. Right, or wrong, they will justify their lack of effort, because of their loss of respect for the leader. You don’t have to wait for a crisis to get more involved with your team. If you have been giving orders from the sidelines you can be more effective by working in partnership with your team. Your example, will be one of the best ways to raise the bar on your leadership. If you’re struggling with how you can make this shift, click the button below to setup a free consult for us to talk about how coaching can help you get back to a good position.

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