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Leadership in Crisis

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Richard Shirreff
Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Strategia Worldwide
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Leadership in Crisis
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About speaker

Richard Shirreff
Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Strategia Worldwide

About the talk

Selecting the right leader

  • The ability to lead people does not come with the job.
  • You can’t parachute someone who has no experience of leadership into a leadership role and expect them to succeed.
  • Leaders have to be selected, educated, and trained to become leaders.

What underpins leadership – and therefore the ability to respond in a crisis?

  • If morale is high, people lead themselves and they have the resilience to cope when things go wrong. Leaders have to build, maintain, and nurture good morale.
  • Communication. Leadership needs the ability to connect with people, to communicate. Can only connect if you understand your people, their needs, their fears and can reassure them through the power of your personality that you have their interests at heart. EQ not IQ.
  • Planning but don’t get fixated on the plan. Stay agile, stay adaptable. The more you understand, the greater the agility of decision-making.
  • War-gaming/ Stress-testing. This is all about developing the intellectual muscle memory which kicks in when needed.
  • Drills and standard operating procedures. Ensure that people take action quickly and, if necessary, without orders.
  • Mission command. Trust the people on the ground to use their initiative –they must understand the intent and be crystal clear about what is to be achieved. And they must also have the resources and support.
  • Keeping a reserve. If the reserve is committed, generate another one, however difficult and however small.

Conclusion. At the end of the day crisis management is about building resilience through planning, war-gaming, training, educating and keeping something in reserve. But it is always about leadership.

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