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Everything is sunshine and rainbows when things are running like a well oiled machine, but what happens when that machine falters? Naturally, problems will arise. That’s inevitable. So, how we handle those problems will determine what types of leaders we are.

Here are 5 tips from on how to better “handl[e] a crisis like a boss.”

  1. “Plan ahead.” If you know me, you know that I’m a big fan of lists. I write one almost every morning to keep track of the to-dos for that day. Not surprising that I would be a big fan of a crisis management list. Write out 5 or so things that could go wrong. Try to stick to only the most likely and don’t go too far down the road of “what ifs.” The idea here is to take the emotion out of it and come up with responses to each problem noted. Start thinking about who in your company can champion the solution and how they might be prepped for these types of situations.
  2. “Lead on empathy.” In times of crisis, and all times really, it’s imperative we lead with compassion and empathy. If something does go wrong, the best thing you could do is apologize sincerely and actively work on a solution. It’s critical that this comes from the leader. A mistake made too often is when an ‘apology’ comes in the form of an impersonal statement on the website or social platform. All that usually does is incite anger or unwanted public attention. Be real and honest with your mistakes and work to make amends.
  3. “Don’t be too risk-averse.” Sometimes, a big crisis needs a big solution. Don’t play it safe and continue doing the same thing over and over again. Take a big swing and it could pay off exponentially. Similar to leading with empathy, you should own up to the issue at hand and start making moves. It’s clear that today’s society is begging for honest leaders and politicians. If you can do that, people will follow you.
  4. “Take action.” A good thing to have is some sort of help chat or helpline where people can go when dealing with problems. The worst thing that could happen is for your clients to feel forgotten– especially during times of crisis. Make realistic promises and actually keep them. You’d be surprised how far that can go during big problem situations. Be decisive and move quickly. Don’t let fear get in the way of finding a real and lasting solution.
  5. “Keep calm.” It’s easy to lose your cool when crisis comes knocking on your door. The best and most effective leader stays cool during these moments. They remain level headed and are able to take swift action through appropriate delegation when needed. Don’t be a hot head and let your temper control you. When you keep your calm, you can come out of the fire when a stronger reputation.

Of course, no one wants a crisis to happen. Sometimes we are so fearful that we shy away from planning for these events. It is not pessimistic to think through likely fire drill scenarios. If anything, it is extremely strategic.