Today, we are all being tested greatly, and so it is with our leaders. Individuals, organizations, and systems are all under strain, with some facing overload. Here are several keys to crisis leadership. Radical Focus When you are in a crisis, your immediate priority is survival. Crises require take fierce discipline in personal and organizational time management. Leaders should expect to use more “steel” (hard-edged leadership) than “velvet” (soft-edged) at the outset. In a crisis, leaders must mercilessly cast aside all manner of ideas and projects—some with real merit—to ensure a tight focus on one or two key priorities
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” -Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms In leadership circles, too often the focus is on success principles for effective leading. That is all well and good, but often it can be more helpful to tackle things from the other perspective: what causes leadership to break down (and what can we do to avoid breakdowns)? First, there is a connection between personal breakdowns among leaders and the breakdowns of their organizations. Here we reflect on both. Personal Breakdowns “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.”
In our culture today, it is easy to assume that the proper frame for going about our working life is to pursue “climbing mode” as early and aggressively as possible. When I say “climbing mode,” I mean striving to move up the ladder of success, focusing on achievement and advancement. For many, this notion is so ensconced in our culture that it is invisible, unconscious, and wholly taken for granted. But is it right? Is it helpful or harmful when it comes to living a good life and crafting good work? The assumption of course is that it is right and helpful.
We face a barrage of challenges these days: rapid change, a barrage of demands on our attention, tension between work and home, and more. There’s one meta-skill that shapes how we respond to all these challenges: self-leadership. Without it, we cannot sustain ourselves for long. Leading self may be obvious, but it’s far from easy. We neglect it at our peril. The task of leading self is the task of a lifetime. Here are ten keys to self-leadership: 1. Healthy Habits. When we are leading self well, we develop an energizing rhythm of self-care. It includes the “fundamentals” that