In our complex and ever evolving world, another crisis is just around the corner. Just turn on the news and witness much of the “breaking news” within local state and federal governments and in the private sector business community. Crisis leadership consists of leadership skills and techniques required to identify, assess, understand, and cope with a serious situation, especially from the moment it first occurs to the point that the crisis is under control.

Whether you are a politician, CEO or occupy any position with the title of leader; how you respond and fix a crisis will define both your leadership style and your leadership capability. If you are seeking to maintain the confidence and trust of your constituents, clients, employees or the general public, you must respond quickly and effectively to the crisis and maintain executive presence.

Executive presence is about “creating a consistent image of you” as a compelling force when dealing with a crisis. You must become very adept at using your ability to influence others not by title, authority or harsh words; but by your professional ability and magnetism to motivate others to positively shape and attain the desired outcome needed to fix the crisis.

Along with maintaining executive presence and the confidence of those you lead, the following seven action steps must be taken to maintain a strong crisis leadership role.

1. Step in and immediately and take control of the situation. People look to a leader to truly lead! If you don’t quickly take control, people will come to their own conclusion as to what happened and diminish their trust in your leadership ability or your capability to deal with the unexpected.

2. Act swiftly and effectively to assemble all the resources and key players available to assist in the crisis assessment and the possible fix. Have this team look at as many scenarios as possible. Have them think outside the box. Complex problems often require complex thinking and multifaceted solutions offered by many people.

3. Stay in constant communication with your crisis team and communicate honestly and often to your clients, constituents and employees. You cannot over communicate…People want and need to know what is going on especially during a crisis. The best leaders in times of crisis talk straight and communicate clearly and frequently about the nature of the situation and the efforts to fix it.

4. Never point fingers or place blame. Great leaders only comment on facts and keep their focus on fixing the problem not placing blame before the actual cause has been determined. Even when all the facts are in the true leader immediately focuses on preventing a repeat of the crisis. Besides, there’s plenty of time for discovering who or what was the cause after the crisis ends and all the facts are in.

5. Take responsibility and own the crisis. Most often others have played a role in causing the crisis, but people don’t like their leader to wine and complain about how the crisis is not his or her fault. You are in charge now. You took on the leadership role to deal with the good, the bad and the ugly during your watch.

6. Stay calm, cool and collected throughout the crisis situation. When leaders act irrationally so do the people they lead! A crisis demands emotionally attuned leaders who can tolerate high degrees of ambiguity and uncertainty. People want their leaders to make them believe things are under control, even when they’re not.

7. Keep focused on the crisis until it has past. Focus will lead to a quicker and more effective execution to the problem. Don’t use the crisis to push another issue or personal agenda as it will dilute your efforts and the efforts of others to focus on fixing the immediate crisis. Focus and execution to fix the crisis is the key.

Bottom line…Leaders must deal with a crisis quickly, honestly, and completely, keeping everyone informed until the crisis is resolved. That’s what crisis leadership is all about! What do you think about the current crisis leadership being displayed in the United States both in the private sector and in government?

Author's Bio: 

Coach and author Roger M. Ingbretsen is a certified executive coach and organizational developer, He provides organizational and career guidance to professionals, managers, supervisors and all individuals looking for "real world" career development and business information. His entrepreneurial approach will help you learn how to plan, lead and succeed in your career. To know more and claim dozens of Rogers FREE articles go to or call 509 999 7008.