What to Remember When Leading through Crisis

On Tuesday, I awoke to reports of devastating tornadoes that had ravaged the Nashville area overnight. I lived in Nashville for over 20 years and love the city and its people so much. Cross Point, the church I served with there, sustained major damage to their broadcast campus–a building that I had a hand in renovating a few years back. The images, both of the damage AND of the community of Nashville coming together to support and care for each other, brought back so many memories for me about leading through a similar natural disaster in 2010 when portions of the city were badly flooded. See, as leaders, we don’t have control of when crisis hits. What we DO have control over are the choices we make about how to lead through it.

Here are some things I’ve learned about leading through crisis. It’s by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some important steps to take:

  • Remember that teams can become even stronger in crisis. Unexpected difficulty provides an opportunity for unity and, as a leader, you help set the tone for this.
  • Don’t forget to process your own loss. When you’re leading through crisis, you have to overcome, even ignore, your own emotions in order to help bring strength and direction for your team. This is necessary initially, but you need to make sure you give yourself time to process your own loss and feelings of grief so that they don’t manifest in unhealthy ways in your life.
  • Take care of yourself. Most often when facing a crisis, you’re running on adrenaline and likely don’t have a lot of time to slow down. But you do need to rest. You do need to eat. It is not selfish to take care of yourself. Your team needs you healthy. Leading through crisis is usually a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Give yourself a break. You are having to be super focused on leading through the situation which means you have less time and margin for ordinary activities. Ask for help with the simple things like grocery shopping, house cleaning, lawn care, etc.
  • Accept help. You don’t have to be the super hero. Do what you need to do, but invite others in as well. When you do, you give others a purpose and a chance to rise to a new level of growth in leading through the situation as well.

I pray you don’t have to lead through the types of crises I mentioned earlier, but I do know that facing crisis is inevitable. Be prepared to dispense empathy, vision and grace. Both to others AND yourself.

And if you would, join me in keeping Middle TN in your prayers.

Keep leading well!
Jenni Catron and The 4Sight Group


Jenni Catron is a writer, speaker, and leadership coach who consults churches and non-profits to help them lead from their extraordinary best. She speaks at conferences and churches nationwide, seeking to help others develop their leadership gifts and lead confidently. As Founder and CEO of The 4Sight Group, she consults with individuals and teams on leadership and organizational health.

Jenni is the author of several books, including Clout: Discover and Unleash Your God-Given Influence and The 4 Dimensions of Extraordinary Leadership.

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