The Learning Leader: What Do You Do in a Crisis?
In the chaos, people make up information to fill the communication void. For employees and others, it's not clear what's definite data and what's random rumor. The result is confusion and unhappiness even when no one is trying to unsettle things.
Learning: Create a regular channel — even a simple intranet page — where people can find out "stuff" and ask questions. Reply to any question within 24 hours. With information, people can make good choices. Without information, they feel panicked.
5. Don't just respond to the ringing phone
When things are super busy, it's easy to pay attention to the loudest noise. So you as a learning leader may find yourself surrounded by the Casualties and the Cassandras. Casualties can be those who see their reputations or roles being undermined, and they want to complain loudly and often about this. Cassandras are those who are only too happy to explain how much worse the situation will get. They're keen to share their doom-laded prognosis with you. Neither is a good focus for attention. You need to look out at the wider organization.
Learning: First identify the key internal and external relationships you need to pay attention to and manage. Decide the ones that you must look after — and then delegate contact with the others to someone else. Take the pulse of the organization as often as you can. Talk to ordinary people who run post rooms, who clean toilets, and who speak quietly and don't complain. Get the Cassandras and the Casualties to talk to each other — ideally in a closed room.
As a leader, you can model the learning behavior you want and need best in a crisis. Or you can demonstrate that it's really just a nice idea you read in a book somewhere. My advice is put the sentiment into practice