January 2020

Leading in a Crisis

Welcome to 2020 -a whole new decade!

I hope this finds you well and focused on your goals for the year ahead.

Being located in Australia it has been impossible not to be affected by the situation currently occurring before my eyes. As many of you may know, Australia has been experiencing one of the worst fire seasons on record. The sheer scale and devastation being brought on by the fires to the environment, people and animals has been beyond comprehension. This crisis has highlighted the ways in which despite the obvious negatives of the situation, there have also been a number of positives, in terms of the way the community has responded and come together to help each other. This has happened not just at a local level but at a global level. It has been interesting to observe the range of behaviours displayed by the various leaders at federal, state and local government levels. The situation encouraged me to reflect on the importance of leadership when managing a crisis. Here are some key traits that I view as critical to leading well in crisis, at both a professional and personal level.

1. Calmness - Being calm, logical and having a strong disposition is perhaps one of the most important factors when leading through a crisis. It is imperative to ensure that panic is minimised despite the stress of the situation. People take their cues from leaders so how we “show up” is important.

2. Trusted Advisors - Having trusted advisors who you can rely on to provide information and advice to inform your decision making and it’s process is essential. This may comprise field experts, specialists and employees. There will be a diversity of views that these people can offer. As a leader the task will be to process the opinions and make informed choices. Of course, not all of these will go according to plan.

3. Communication - Better to be over communicating and micro-messaging rather than people making up their own stories.

4. Being healthy, fit and up to the job -With the levels of stress involved in leading through crisis, it is so important to take care of yourself through regular sleep, exercise and healthy eating.

5. Inner work/ Spirituality/ Prayer - Having a practice that grounds you and you can retreat to, to provide inner stillness and calm is also highly beneficial when dealing with crises.

It is inevitable that at some point in our lives we are all going to encounter difficult and challenging situations. By being aware of what some of the ways to cope with leading in crisis are, you can incorporate some of these elements into your everyday leadership.

Podcast: Self Awareness

In this podcast Tom discusses the importance of self-awareness and offers some insights into being more self-aware and the benefits it can bring to your leadership.

Click here to listen


Book Recommendation:


The Neuroscience of Inclusion: New Skills for Hard times, Mary E. Casey & Shannon Murphy Robinson

Neuroscience now provides a new way forward. Highlighting several key aspects of neuroscience that are vital to inclusion, this book provides new, brain-based strategies and tools for working across differences in ways that build trust, foster creativity, and result in higher level outcomes. It offers a new understanding and approach to recognizing and overriding unconscious biases, and provides additional brain skills that support us in overriding other unconscious brain dynamics that can interfere with even our best intentions to be inclusive. This book also offers new hope in building positive, authentic connections across differences. Using appreciation-based tools, it is possible to work with others who are very different from ourselves in ways that deepen our understanding and appreciation of each other's different life experiences, backgrounds, beliefs and perspectives. In this new brain-based approach, we can more effectively and consistently demonstrate inclusive behaviours across differences - even if those differences cause an initial feeling of discomfort. Incorporating these new brain-based inclusion skills and tools offers new opportunities to more consciously and consistently work across differences effectively. These new brain skills will shape the inclusive workplaces of tomorrow.

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