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Identify leaders during a crisis
Leadership Development

Identify leaders during a crisis

Sumitha Mariyam Raj
July 12, 2022
“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity”     - John F. Kennedy, 35th U.S. president

Identify leaders during a crisis - We hear a lot of organizations preaching about looking into people and doing what they need and identifying new leaders who will make the workplace Heaven on earth for employees. Being people-centric is a whole different story, not even going there. But, are you right in giving chances to the hard-working people, to lead your organization? Be business-centric, I know the whole concept of centricity shift is a myth, but you need the right leader. Trust me, without them, you’re not gonna get revenue because your employees are gonna resign. Simple math!

Let me try and explain how you should identify the potential leaders you see in your organization. The reason for this article now - Black Swan of the Century? Don’t make the mistake of forgetting those who are there with you, when the sun doesn’t shine. 

But hey, also fix the roof while the sun shines.

Method 1 - Identify leaders instantaneously 

You’re looking for a leader during a crisis. Resilience is not an easy feature for an FTE. Sorry, let’s be more human. Resilience is not exhibited by a lot of humans who work for you when there’s a crisis. They’re stressed, but they’re up and running. They’ve got your back and the business keeps running!

Now, I am not sure if the next quality is going to be appealing to you, but, you know, people who care for other people, can be given a chance. What if that thing called employee centricity actually works? You need the business running, and you need that positivity to keep your people up and running. There you go, find these qualities instantaneously and you’ve got them, your future leaders!

Oops, we ran out of methods!

Let’s say the two commandments of being a good leader is:

  1. Resilience 
  2. Empathy

But, you get the two commandments after you summarize the ten commandments right?

Let me try and explain a few factors that are going to influence how good of a leader a person will be. You can also cross-check to see if your leader is good enough. 

Identify leaders during a crisis | peopleHum

They’re not managers!

Who am I kidding? You know Peter Drucker. There’s a huge difference between being a manager and being a leader. Having people who follow you, is different from having people who work for you. But realistically speaking, you need to have that x% manager and y% leader attitude, to be a good “leader” in the corporate world. The value of x and y totally depends on your organizational culture, and you, as a person. Another pointer to identify leaders during a crisis. 

Identify leaders during a crisis | peopleHum

They’re great doers?

  I’m not going to confuse you by saying x% and y% again. But a certain small fraction of you should be a doer for you to be a good leader. Do you see a person, who gets the ball, and scores without passing it? That’s a doer, and will always be a doer. Now, the one who passes the ball, and helps others score, in a more efficient manner, is the leader. Leaders take credit for the choices they make, and the people they trusted, not in the work they got done by micromanaging someone. Yet another pointer to identify leaders during a crisis. 

They’re emotional?

Okay, a sensitive topic. Are leaders supposed to be emotional? Or more appropriately, how emotional can leaders be? Do you see someone who can say “NO” and keep a straight face? Someone who knows the right amount of recognition that needs to be given to each member of their team, simply because they know them? Someone who is positive and happy, only when necessary, but never a fan of Hitler when it comes to work and hard times for the firm? You have it, I mean, you have him/her. Get them to start leading for you. You have identified a leader during a crisis! 

Are they adaptable?

Situations change. You walk today, run tomorrow. Leaders are ahead of change. This is easier to understand during a crisis because you need to question age-old practices to survive sometimes. The pandemic might change the whole purpose of your organization. Those people who are no longer reliant on their lucky outfit, and are ready to come out of their comfort zones, they’re your leaders! They can be great leaders during a crisis, and otherwise.

How well connected are they?

Engaging with the team members for creating an impact, largely depends on how well connected the leaders are. All sorts of communication, from assigning tasks to giving feedback, remotely or virtually as we call it, has to happen. Feeling for the fellow teammates, and being connected with them, matters, to a large extent. My last tip to identify your leader during a crisis. 

The world has come to a standstill, and a lot of countries are preparing to re-open. We went through a lot and we’re yet to go through a lot more. Businesses suffered, employees suffered, families suffered. We’re all confused about the next step. However, this suffering has molded a huge number of good human beings as we went through this crisis, holding hands. I’ve tried my best to give you a piece of my mind, about what is expected of, or how we can identify a leader when it’s tough. Let’s continue the conversation, and don’t forget to add your thoughts in the comments section here! 

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October 25, 2021

A very inspiring list. Thanks for putting this together


October 25, 2021

This is such a great list of women leaders! More power to you all

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