As a leader handles crisis, one of the key things for that leader to remember is that moods are contagious. Emotions are contagious and a leader’s followers will align their emotions and their mood with that leader over time, and sometimes very quickly.
So, you can imagine a leader who reacts to pressure and crisis in a stressed-out way. Eventually, that’s exactly how his or her people will respond. They’ll react in the same way.
A leader who navigates through difficulties has to have enough emotional intelligence to realize that their mood and their emotions will catch on. We often call this the “leaders shadow”. It’s a really important notion when it comes to handling a crisis; to remember that they’re casting a shadow and that their people really watch, and will take cues. And the leader doesn’t even have to speak, they’ll take cues from body language. These are points of communication that never stop, they’re literally happening all the time.
Crisis is embedded in the natural course of doing business. Things don’t go right, deadlines are missed, industries change, and new competitors emerge. An organization that intends to survive has to be able to act in an agile way, reacting thoughtfully and purposefully. And those responses can only happen consistently when modeled by leaders and adopted by their teams.