I was tired, stressed and burnt out. I would come home each night and tell my husband something has to change. I would share what happened that day, what I had to do that night and then the next day; rinse and repeat. The challenges of managing a crisis, or shall I say multiple, were immense. I mustered all my energy and that of others to get through it and ultimately we did. I often reflect, was there a better way? 

I wish I had a support system that would have advised me better during a series of crises in my last corporate role. But given that is in the past, I can only pass on some wisdom to help you to avoid a crisis or to come out better in the end. While I and my team weathered the storm of a quality issue, I wonder if we’ll ever get back the weeks & months of our lives. We were stressed and spent so many hours away from the things we love such as family, community and activity; all in the name of managing through a crisis.

According to a Forbes article report, 72% of those who came out whole in the end sought advice from their outside counsel. This is what makes leaders stronger, while for others, it can be their demise.

 The formula comes down to three simple principles of what to do in a crisis:

  1. Ask yourself what to do
  2. Ask your team what to do
  3. Ask someone from the outside

Ask yourself what to do: You are the leader and either through past experience or having the skills to navigate, you already have 80% of the answers in how to manage the situation. It’s served you in the past, but sometimes you need more input in order to succeed.

Ask your team what to do: If you’ve build a trusting relationship and they have your back, the team can fill in the blanks of managing through a crisis because of their depth of experience in their area of expertise. Their input enriches or course correct the experience you already have. They will validate your approach and bringing them along, they will work the crisis with you. You’ve gained another 15% of knowledge to navigate, but there is still something missing.

Ask someone from the outside: The missing 5% of how to manage a crisis can make or break a leader. Those that seek outside council are confident in themselves and recognize their strengths; but also where they don’t have all the answers. Some see this as a weakness or moreover, they can’t see it as a weakness because they’re heads down muscling through the crisis. This is where leaders fail because they look like they have it all figured out, but the outcome is quite different resulting in burnout. 

The most important question a leader can ask is what else do they not know. Those that ask for outside counsel are seen as the strong leaders and those worth following into the next crisis. It ultimately comes down to: how do you know what you don’t know? By asking yourself, asking your team and asking someone from the outside, you build the confidence you need to be the leader of today and also model the behavior for those who follow you. And now I turn to you… will you ask for help? 

The Drop In CEO is here to help; all you have to do is ask. 

If this insight was helpful, share this article with others. If you have a unique challenge and wish to have a complementary conversation, please reach out to me. I love helping C-Suite leaders of today and tomorrow reach their career goals. 

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