COVID-19, Generic
Role of Leaders in Crisis Management
May 06, 2020
Suresh Kumar DN
banner image for blog Role of Leaders in Crisis Management

These are tough times as many businesses are affected globally due to lockdowns caused by COVID-19 pandemic. What can leaders and managers do during such tough times? In this article, I will share some ideas that leaders and managers can adopt to ensure that their organizations are well prepared to handle the crisis and tide over it.

Role of Leaders and Managers

When the going gets tough, the tough get going is an old adage and is very apt for the current global situation. Leaders and managers have huge responsibility during these difficult times as they need to make quick decisions, create contingency plans, and ensure the smooth running of the business. A crisis is like war and therefore leaders need to ensure that they act like Army Generals who lead their teams during a war.

Following are some best practices that leaders and managers can adopt.

Wide view of the situation

While many look at crises as a threat and have a narrow view, leaders must have a broad view. It includes looking at various aspects related to the crisis, such as the legal issues, immediate business disruption, economic fallout for the communities and employees directly or indirectly related to the business.

Also, leaders need to anticipate and understand what will unfold in the current week, in the coming weeks, months or even a year So that they are better prepared to handle the situations as and when they arise and plan for contingencies.

Alertness and Preparedness

Leaders should be more alert and take complete charge of the situation. Leaders should anticipate the warning signs of the crisis and make quick decisions to ensure that the crisis does not affect the organization. For example, in a COVID-19 like situation, leaders should convene a crisis management team quickly and make plans to ensure business continuity.

Crisis Management Team

The crisis management team should be fully responsible for making detailed plans to ensure that systems are in place when the organization moves towards working from the home scenario for as many employees as possible. Leaders should understand that instead of trying to control everything, they need to allow the team to manage the situation.

Attending to Problems

Managers should be completely aware of the situation and not neglect any issue that may become a full-blown crisis later. All the problems must be attended in such a manner that risks arising out of the crisis are fully contained or mitigated.


Leaders and managers must take adequate precautions to ensure that the employees are not affected by the crisis. This may include early response to the crisis, sending people home, and backing up systems and files that are critical to business operations.

Avoid Panic

It is easy to panic during a crisis. Leaders and managers play a vital role in ensuring that the panic button is not hit, employees are reassured during the unfolding of crisis and help employees work as a unit. Smaller teams should be immediately convened, and responsibilities are shared.

Be honest and build trust

One of the key things that leaders must keep in mind is being honest and truthful about the situation in hand. They need to communicate with utmost transparency otherwise the situation can go out of hand quickly. Also, the employees must trust the leaders and for this the leaders need to demonstrate empathy to get the trust factor going.


Leaders and managers should display compassion during a crisis. They cannot afford to underestimate the situation and how it may affect employee morale in the long run.Also, leaders should understand that the crisis affects people, hence they need to see how best the employees and immediate communities are safeguarded.

Constant Interaction and Motivation

Leaders and managers should ensure that there is a constant channel of communication with the employees during the crisis. They cannot afford to relax. Leaders must convey the message that they are with the employees during the crisis. Leaders need to motivate their employees and keep them in good spirits.

Leaders and managers need to ensure that there are no rumors spread during tough times and take immediate action against the offenders.

Also, leaders should keep in touch with all stakeholders and external parties to ensure that they are kept in the loop about important decisions being made by the organization.


To conclude, leaders and managers need to ensure that the show must go on even in tough times. Leaders and managers need to make business contingency plans and keep communication channels open at all times to ensure that the organization tides over the crisis.

We have released free courses on Business Continuity, Leadership and Work From Home to help the community during these tough times. You can access these free courses from here.

If you want to learn more about our services or think we can be of more help to you, write to us at

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