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4 min reading

“If you can’t control what is happening, then challenge yourself to control the way you are handling it!”

How can you respond to difficult situations and not just react? The answer is hidden in our behavioral skills.

1. Building an environment of trust

During turbulent times trust is a must have condition. How do you establish or maintain an environment of trust? Some suggestions are:

– Be honest with clients, providers, partners and employees. Don’t minimize the importance of the danger. Be ready to provide data, numbers and refer your data to specific sources.

– Accept and respect others fears about the situation. Respect and acknowledge their panic or fear statements. Be patient with unexpectable behaviors that you may deal with. Be an active listener and ask open questions to help others deploy their concerns. The solution is hidden in the details!

– Remind yourself that the situation will soon end or change and the way to respond will be easier for everyone. Until then, just do your best!

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2. Reset your mindset

Crisis times are always an opportunity to change fixed views and opinions and a challenge to train a growth mindset. Help your partners to do the same. Some easy ways to do that is to ask yourself and others the following questions:

How can we transform the problem in an opportunity? What have we been doing until now? Does it work? Should we change it? What would other companies do in our shoes? What our personal role model manager would have done? Which is the risk of not doing anything? Can we take an example from the past to overcome the difficult situation?

This is a good moment to establish brainstorming sessions in our team, new roles for our people, promote accountability, train responsiveness. Learn to be agile and most of all learn to accept that you can’t control everything.

3.  Identifying obvious and obscure vulnerabilities of the organization

Now is the time to identify weaknesses in our company and search for alternatives. New sales channels, change of company target and strategy, focus on new services or client segmentation, additional strategic job positions and building crisis management plans and “backup strategy plan”. Remember that the crisis will soon come to an end and you must not have just lost your time.

4. Making wise and rapid decisions as well as taking courageous actions

Be agile. Take quick decisions but always have a backup plan. Try to be one step ahead. Write down a short SWOT analysis for every decision. Try to be aware of opportunities and be ready to try new tactics. Explain to your team the reasons of your decisions and always ask yourself before: what is the risk? What is the benefit?

5. Learning from crisis to effect change

After every project or crisis or important experience, try to write down your own lessons learned. What have you done and went well? What didn’t work? What should you do differently next time? How will you be ready to respond and not just react?

Crisis are the ideal moments to discover if we have a Growth or Fixed Mindset.

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6. Train your resilience skills

Resilience is our personal capacity to quickly recover from difficult situations. The good news is that we can train ourselves on “How to be resilient”. The bad news is that we can’t do it by ourselves, without guidance and an organized process. Here is an interesting short article about resilience and how to train ourselves and our colleagues on becoming tough with difficult situations and champions on recovering from them.

After all, the situation will end some day and you want to maintain your image as a serious, responsible and reputable partner. And most of all you want to gain this battle and gain all the self confidence that you deserve!


–       Leading Under Pressure: From Surviving to Thriving Before, During, and After a Crisis, Erika Hayes James and Lynn Perry Wooten

–       Leadership as (Un)usual: How to Display Competence In Times of Crisis, Erika Hayes James and Lynn Perry Wooten, Organizational Dynamics Elsevier, Inc, Vol. 34.

Margarita Gourgioti | Partner & Head of Business Development – Wise me Innovation in Learning & Development