• Kat O'Sullivan

Top 5 things leaders are facing during this unprecedented crisis

Updated: May 5


We are experiencing seismic shifts that will have aftershocks for months and years to come. Leadership in a COVID-driven world is requiring essential shifts to Survive Now and Thrive Later. Here are just some of the issues and related ways to shift your leadership:


  1. Old priorities are GONE — it’s totally disorienting. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time to be proactive, not reactive. While it’s normal to focus on what’s happening right now, it’s just as important to spend time thinking about how to position yourself for success when the crisis subsides. Engage with everyone to gain new clarity and focus so that people aren’t going 100 mph in the wrong direction.

  2. Having to rethink everything NOW — it’s overwhelming. The old mantra that “there’s too much to do and never enough time” is being felt now more than ever. Reprioritizing and breaking things into bite-size pieces, for yourself and others is the key to making tasks feel more manageable . . . so you can feel a sense of relief.

  3. Trying to manage fear, worry and anxiety, yours and others — it’s stressful. Self-care and caring for your people (in that order) is more important than ever. Honesty, empathy and normalizing these feelings goes long way towards relieving stress. Engaging everyone’s best thinking around how you can work together to survive, improve and seize new opportunities will help people feel more connected and able to contribute in a positive way.

  4. Having to deal with unrelenting uncertainty and confusion — it’s immobilizing. This is one of the few times when more is better than less, especially when it comes to communication. Times like this demand constant communications, transparency and reassurances wherever possible. It’s NOT a time for a top-down approach. It’s an opportunity to give people guidance, set priorities to ensure they’re going in the right direction and then mobilize and enable them to put those priorities into action. 

  5. Adopting a 'cut, cut, and cut mentality' — it’s driving limited thinking, without regard to the long-term impact. Focus decisions on data, rather than emotions. Understand that arbitrarily cutting costs across the board can be costly. Establish criteria for how decisions will be made. Take into account immediate day-to-day operations, the challenges of the next 90-days, as well as the longer-term impact.


Years from now we’ll all still be talking about the pandemic of 2020. What would you like people to be saying about your leadership?


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