Even the most successful businesses can face crises that threaten their very survival. A crisis can come in many forms – economic downturns, natural disasters, cyber-attacks, pandemics, and so on. A critical skill that every business leader must possess is crisis management – the ability to lead effectively during a crisis. The ability to communicate effectively, make rapid decisions, and maintain a calm and collected demeanour are vital components of this skill set. In this blog, we will explore the essential skills that every business leader needs to possess to manage crises successfully.


As a leader, you must be able to communicate clearly, honestly, and empathetically to stakeholders. You need to keep your employees, investors, customers, and other stakeholders informed about the situation, the action plan, and what they can expect. Effective communication can help mitigate the panic and fear and prevent the spread of misinformation. In times of crisis, you will be facing numerous questions and may receive media attention so make sure you are prepared with trusty messaging so you can be transparent with your audience.

Decision making

In a crisis, you often don’t have the luxury of time. You need to be able to make quick decisions based on incomplete information. You must be willing to take calculated risks and have a contingency plan in place. Being able to quickly assess the situation, identify the root cause of the problem, and determine the best course of action is vital. Additionally, the ability to quickly troubleshoot issues as they arise is necessary to mitigate potential damage while being agile with modifications as needed.


When a crisis occurs, your business may need to pivot its strategies and adapt to the changing landscape. You need to be able to remain flexible and open to new ideas. You must be willing to assess and evaluate existing plans and strategies critically and make necessary changes. Adaptability can range from simple first responder procedures in emergencies to comprehensive business continuity policies.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a vital component of being an effective leader during a crisis. You must be able to understand and manage your emotions and the emotions of those around you. You must be able to empathise with your employees and stakeholders and maintain a calm and collected demeanour throughout the crisis. Being able to motivate your team and maintain high morale is vital in times of crisis.

Planning and preparation

Crisis management requires thorough planning and preparation. You must identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, assess their impact, and develop action plans to prevent or mitigate them. This planning should begin long before any crisis occurs, with scenario planning, a disaster response plan and continuous communication strategy to ensure all members are prepared for the worst case.

Crisis management is an essential skill that every business leader should possess. A leader who knows how to manage a crisis with grace can turn a catastrophic scenario into an opportunity to show leadership and resilience. Crisis management skill is not a single, isolated competency but a combination of different competencies such as communication, decision-making, adaptability, emotional intelligence, planning, and preparation. A company that has a leader equipped with these skills can more quickly recover from a crisis. We hope this blog gives you more clarity around how to better equip yourself for successful crisis management.


Read more leadership blogs: Leading with Agility: How Agile Methodologies Can Transform Leadership, Managing the Remote Workforce