Leadership in a Business Crisis

Business.com / Education / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Insider trading, layoffs, floods. You can’t eliminate the emotional fallout from a devastating event, but you can bolster the ...

Insider trading, layoffs, floods. You can’t eliminate the emotional fallout from a devastating event, but you can bolster the confidence of employees, customers and shareholders if you lead your company through the crisis with honesty and compassion. That means: 

1. Providing updates to employees often and in person.
2. If you’re dealing with a natural disaster, making employee safety your top priority.
3. Projecting confidence.

Get help now

If a crisis blindsides you before you've had a chance to put a crisis management plan in place, consider calling a consultant who can step in on a moment's notice to guide you through the trauma.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides a list of emergency response action steps.

Ask employees for feedback

Even if you are delivering news and updates on a regular basis, employees will continue to have questions and suggestions. Ask them to share their thoughts with you via an e-mail or the Web. Be sure to answer promptly. You can also be proactive by issuing a questionnaire that asks employees about their top concerns.

Keep offsite workers and stakeholders in the loop

Whether or not they're on your premises, everyone with a vested interest in your company wants the straight story about the crisis and your plans to get the company back on its feet.

Get the word out to the media

To discourage the media from speculating about your company's fate after a major crisis, explain the situation and your recovery plans.

Be prepared for the next crisis

It's never easy to guide your company through a troubling period, but having a crisis-management plan in place can ease some of the stress.
preparing for a natural disaster.
  • Publicly praise employees and others who go the extra mile to help others weather the crisis.
  • Stay visible to employees. Locking yourself away with a group of advisors for hours every day will only fuel employees' fears.
  • If you assign a spokesperson to talk to the media, make sure he is armed with the facts. If he is asked a question that he can't answer, he should get back to the reporter with the correct answer rather than speculate on the spot.

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