In this episode, Chris Knutson, PE interviews Steve Armstrong, leadership coach and no stranger to leading during an emergency, or crisis situations, about the special attributes of leadership that must be called on when facing crisis situations. And we’ll be doing so based on his experiences with the McMurray wildfires that devastated the town at the same time.
Engineering Success quotes:
Here are the key points:
- To be an effective leader you need to be steady, calm, walk slowly and be cautious. If you start panicking, everybody else around you will also start to panic.
- If you are a top organizational leader, I would recommend that you find somebody that counteracts where your behavior, conduct and personally would not be useful. It is also important to know that you need to build this team and support around you, before a crisis situation affects you.
- Situational Leadership is not about being a chameleon and changing your character. It is more about adjusting to the situation from an empathetic standpoint.
- You need to have empathy of what is going on in your co-workers/employees lives, otherwise they will not follow you or do the things you need them to do in a crisis.
- You need to be able to make the best decision, regardless of what the downstream impact might be, to keep the health and life safety of your employees, and the people that you are responsible for, in good order.
- The ultimate goal in a life threatening crisis is that your organization remains alive.
- It is very important for leaders to have empathy whether or not they are in crises situations. This will ensure that you as a leader already have those connections built, and so that those people working for/with you will know that you are there for their support.
- All of the things that you do in your day-to-day life should include, building up a bank of trust between you and the people you work with, and the people who work for you.
- Always explain to others what you are doing and why you are doing it.
- If you start to cast blame and deflecting issues around, then you lose trust and people lose confidence in you very quickly.
- If you are wandering through life with a polyanic view that the world is full of sunshine, roses and unicorns, and you are not thinking that there could arise a problem that will affect your company, your organization, your people or yourself, then you’ve got a different problem and it is called an activity. Know that something can happen and plan for the worst and hope for the best.
- Have conversations with your team explaining what you will do and how you will react when you are faced with crisis situations.
- You can learn more about Steve at his website.
More in this episode…
In the Take Action of Today’s segment of the show, Steve and I will give you some actionable pieces of advice that you can use when you are faced with a crises leadership situation.
About Steve Armstrong
Steve is a Calgary based speaker, educator consultant and leadership expert who works with technically & intellectually brilliant leaders who were never taught how to deal with people or who find themselves frustrated by not hitting their goals because of people issues. He is an expert at developing followers into leaders and building dedicated, loyal, and remarkable teams through the lessons learned from 35 years as a leader, soldier, and humanitarian. Steve’s has honed his insights and leadership skills and his unique ability to inspire and teach others to lead. He is one of only a handful of people in Canada who has planned and managed the relief & recovery responses and maintained complex business continuity functions after numerous natural and manmade disasters, and if ever there was a crucible for forging leadership — a crisis would be it. Steve holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy & Management and is the author of You Can’t Lead From Behind: What I Learned in Combat About Leadership, People, and Profit.
“One of the true test of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem, before it becomes an emergency” – Arnold Glascow
Books mentioned in this session include:
Resources and links mentioned in this session include:
TECC 101: How to Use Leadership in Your Engineering Firm to Attain High Performance
Steve’s free book offer
4 Leadership Actions You Need To Survive A Crisis A Hero!
4 Things You Need To Do Before The Next Crisis “Nobody Saw Coming”
Trust & Chance: 3 thing you need to lead through a crisis
The Beast, Fort McMurray & Leadership: 5 Actions You Need To Lead
Is having empathy as a leader a good thing?
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on leadership during crisis situations.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Christian Knutson, PE, PMP
The Engineering Career Coach