Every leader walks a fine balance between command and control versus empathetic and collaborative. In my experience, when there is a significant crisis, particularly where life and death is at stake, it is much more important to be on the command and control side. People need to see their leaders being decisive — having the ability to make the call and to live with the consequences of making the call. But people also want you to be able to switch to empathy at the right moments.
One of the definitions of a crisis is making high-stakes decisions in sub-optimal circumstances. Whether it is a natural disaster or a pandemic, decisiveness is not just making decisions that are in front of you, but thinking about what is likely to unfold next week, next month and beyond into recovery.
And we don’t talk enough about self-care. When you have to make big decisions, if you aren’t sleeping well, if you’re highly stressed — you also need to be going for a ride on your bike or playing the piano — whatever works for you.
This is an edited extract of a webinar with Anna Bligh AC, hosted by the Trans-Tasman Business Circle in May.