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Crisis response success is more about behaviors and mindsets than a predefined response plan. A crisis introduces unfamiliarity and uncertainty, so effective communications will largely be improvised across a range of actions from temporary moves to adjusting ongoing business practices. This article outlines five behaviors and accompanying mindsets for leaders to navigate the pandemic, as well as future crises:

  1. The network of teams – Leaders can best mobilize their organization’s response by setting clear priorities for the response and empowering others to discover and implement solutions.
  2. The value of ‘deliberate calm’ and ‘bounded optimism’ – ‘Deliberate calm’ is the ability to detach from a fraught situation and think clearly about how one will navigate it; and ‘bounded optimism’ relates to confidence combined with realism.
  3. Pause to assess and anticipate, then act – Essentially, pause from crisis management, assess the situation from multiple vantage points, anticipate what may happen next, and then act — this cycle helps leaders maintain a state of deliberate calm.
  4. Deal with human tragedy as a first priority – Uphold a vital aspect of leadership by making a positive difference in people’s lives by acknowledging the personal and professional challenges that employees experience during a crisis.
  5. Maintain transparency and provide frequent updates  – Thoughtful, frequent information as a situation develops builds trust and reassurance with internal and external audiences.