Leadership and Change in a Time of Crisis

Leadership and Change in a Time of Crisis

By Virginia Collins, CEO


“No man ever steps into the same river twice for it’s not the same river and he is not the same man” – Heraclitus

In times of crisis, each human experience is intensified. People look to leaders to provide guidance, stability, and a pathway forward to help make sense of perceived chaos.   The details of the destination may not always be clear, and, in most cases, it cannot be clear because information feeding the visualization of the end shifts and changes during times of crisis.  Having said that, halting and/or reducing communication in times of uncertainty is not the answer.


As leaders, we must keep these thoughts and actions in mind to move through whatever challenge or crisis we face.

  1. Listen First and Always: Listen to those who have a stake in the game. Some of those voices will provide relevant information, some will provide unusual but valuable perspectives, some will provide insight on impact, and some will just need to be heard.
  2. Speak from the Heart: Communicate frequently, with authenticity, around what is known and unknown at any given time, tying threads of communication to the ultimate destination, such as a healthy and fully employed workforce.
  3. Don’t Lose Your Head: Stay smart and find the balance between expressing the seriousness of the situation and having optimism about the ability to find a pathway to the ultimate destination.
  4. Practice Grace (with yourself and others): No one has all the answers. Don’t get caught up in expectations that you need to be all-knowing. Be aware others may react out of character – seek to understand their intent and then forgive them.


Embrace the concept that life flows and is in a state of continuous change.  Battling the flow will be exhausting and unproductive – welcoming the flow will allow for positive change.  Every moment in the flow will have a unique rhythm requiring sensitivity and adjustment.  The flow will take you to unimagined places. Most importantly, don’t ever be fooled into believing that if you just grab hold of the past everything will be fine again.  If you allow it, change will energize you and increase the production of thoughts, ideas, and actions that will eventually redefine you, as you realize your destination and see the change you’ve created in yourself along the journey.