Leadership in Times of
Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Fundamental Questions
Following a crisis, leaders must assess:
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•
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What are my people going through?
What is my organization going through?
What does this mean?
What can I do?
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Leadership in Time of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Understanding the Impact of Stress
Leadership during
times of stress and
crisis begins with
understanding how
stress impacts
people
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Psychosocial Impact of Trauma
Fear and Distress
Response
Behavior
Change
Psychiatric
Illness
Sources: Ursano, 2002; Institute of Medicine, 2003
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Individual Stress Response
Each survivor’s disaster is
unique
Each survivor is unique
Veteran's Administration & National Center for
PTSD
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Individual Stress Response
• Physical
• Emotional
• Cognitive
• Behavioral
• Spiritual and Life-View
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Life-View and Spiritual Reactions to Trauma
• Coming to terms with one’s own mortality
• Questioning one’s religious beliefs and faith
practice
• Questioning who/what can I trust?
• Spiritual beliefs may be shaken (e.g., "How could
God cause this destruction?")
• Loss of security in "terra firma" that the earth is
"solid" and dependable
• People lose their illusion of invulnerability; anyone
can be in the wrong place at the wrong time
• A sense of meaninglessness
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Fundamental Questions
Following a crisis, leaders must assess:
•
•
•
•
What are my people going through?
What is my organization going through?
What does this mean?
What can I do?
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Organizational Impact: Ongoing
Stressors
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•
•
•
Actual or perceived decreased safety
High cost of lasting impact
Pursuit of medical and psychiatric opinions
People coping with issues related to grief/loss of
dreams, increased financial strain, stress, family
concerns, physical needs
• Harsh judgments if emergency decisions were
handled poorly (or not!)
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Organizational Impact: Ongoing
Stressors
• Tolerance within and between systems often
decreases as stress, role conflict, and extreme
fatigue set in
• Difficulty concentrating at work/increased mistakes
• Irritability with others
• Absenteeism and presenteeism
• Ongoing financial concerns
Adapted from: Veteran's Administration & National Center
for PTSD
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
The Impact of Critical Incidents on Workgroups
Productivity Requires that Employees:
• Be healthy enough to return to work and function effectively and safely
• Be assured of their safety and not be afraid of returning to work
• Trust in the leadership and desire to return to work
• Have their loyalty rewarded to remain committed long term
Marsh Crisis Academy
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
The Cost of Doing Nothing
“The pure rage that stems
from unredressed injury
can be more fearsome
than that produced by
the original wrong.”
—Gerry Spence
Founder, Trial Lawyers
College
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Fundamental Questions
Following a crisis, leaders must assess:
•
•
•
•
What are my people going through?
What is my organization going through?
What does this mean?
What can I do?
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Making Sense of the Senseless
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Finding Meaning
“…the degree to which people can ultimately
come to an understanding of such events in
the early aftermath may help restore a sense
of security and hasten the process of
adaptation.”
• Updegraff, Silver, and Holman (2008)
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Tragic Optimism
In Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning,
the term tragic optimism is defined as “an
optimism in the face of tragedy and in view of the
human potential which at its best allows for:
(1) turning suffering into a human achievement
and accomplishment;
(2) deriving from guilt the opportunity to change
oneself for the better; and
(3) deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive
to take responsible action.”
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Meaning Attribution
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•
Attribution Theory studies how people
make sense of their world
Heider posits that there is a strong need in
individuals to understand transient events by
making attributions of cause and effect to:
1. Internal Disposition – What does this say about me?
2. External Situation – What does this say about my
environment?
•
The purpose is to achieve a sense of order,
predictability, and cognitive control
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Implications Of Meaning Attribution
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•
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The meaning one assigns has a profound
impact on recovery trajectory
In the absence of an alternative, many
individuals will assign a negative meaning to
a negative event
Harsh judgments will follow, either internal
(pathologizing) or external (blaming)
A timely and robust response can:
1. Offer a resilient message to individual employees
2. Position leadership to guide effective
organizational recovery
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Fundamental Questions
Following a crisis, leaders must assess:
•
•
•
•
What are my people going through?
What is my organization going through?
What does this mean?
What can I do?
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Leading in the Storm…
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Vision (Understanding Corporate Needs)
+
Action (Plan to Facilitate Resiliency)
= Leadership in Times of Crisis
From Michael Useem’s,
The Leadership Moment
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Phase-sensitive Leadership
• Deprivation
Basic resources
• Isolation
Connectivity
• Chaos
Structure
• Helplessness
Efficacy
• Victim
Survivor
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Importance of Vision
“It is important to note that it is not the
coping skills that individuals have or do
not have that are important. What counts
are the coping skills that individuals
believe they have or do not .”
(Ray, 2004)
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
The Burden of Leadership
• Emotional toll
• Isolation is costly
• “Game face” can’t
come off
• Reluctance to utilize
services
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Leadership in Times of Crisis – ACT!
• Acknowledge and name the situation
• Communicate pertinent information with
competence and compassion
• Transition to a future-focus, emphasizing
adaptive functioning and/or refer to additional
care
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
The ACT Guidelines
• Provides an adaptable framework
• Easily communicated during EAP
management consultations
• Lends structure to leadership interactions
• Positions leaders to lead – the first step in
risk management and crisis mitigation
following an event
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
ACT
Acknowledge
• Acknowledge what has happened
• Summarize what has happened
• Present objective and credible information
• Deliver information with sensitivity
• Serves to: control rumors, reduce anxiety, and
return a sense of control to impacted
individuals
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
ACT
Communicate
• Communicate competence and compassion
• Visible leadership communicates care and
concern for those involved
• Transitions to specialist (if utilized)
• Provide information about common reactions
to critical incidents and what can be done to
exercise resiliency
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
ACT
Transition
• Information about Coping – Emphasize resiliency
• Practical Assistance - determine basic and practical
needs
• Linkage with Collaborative Services - transition individual
to appropriate level of support and provide information.
(EAP, counseling center, community resources, written
communications and web resources, telephonic support
via a 1-800 number, to continued personal assistance/
intervention)
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Case Study – The Tucson Shootings
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
The Search for Meaning
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
A Leadership Moment
• Acknowledge
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
A Leadership Moment
• Communicate
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
A Leadership Moment
• Transition
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Final Thoughts
Questions?
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Maya Angelou
“History, despite its wrenching pain,
cannot be unlived;
however, if faced with courage, need
not be lived again.”
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
Restoring Calm in Times of Crisis
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