Crisis Creates Courageous and Resilient Leaders

Exhausted Nurse wearing full personal protection equipment exhibits courage, resilience and leadership in a crisis

Crisis forces change….and blasts open the doors to innovation. Many are talking about what will be lost. But from this seeming chaos, leaders will emerge who have powerful problem-solving skills and a thinking mindset.

Even now, these leaders are making hard but confident choices when they perceive the big picture. They are acting when the time is right, relying on sound problem analysis. These leaders deal with uncertainty and anticipate consequences well ahead of evolving situations.

Their critical thinking skills are on fire! These leaders seize opportunities, focused by their thinking mindset.

Two mindset qualities of courageous and creative leaders: 


Reflective Resilience

  • Groups managing crisis need a resilient leader, someone who cannot easily be knocked down. Someone who bounces back when they take a blow.
  • All strong teams need resilient and reliable members. It is from this stance that the team can dare to be innovative, creating solutions when uncertainty is pervasive.
  • Resilience is not an endless resource. It requires caretaking. We see this in our front line workers today. They need time to rest, regroup, reflect, and find sources of energy to fuel their persistent leadership effort. Common communications like ‘Stay well’ are not enough to assure that a team will find the energy and commitment to continue working. Motivation to work is powered by a clear understanding of what needs to be done and why it will bring value.

The words Courage and Resilience printed in blue on a white face maskResilience Strategies: Maintain Resilience as a Leader:

Three simple strategies will help you maintain your resilience by extending your problem solving and planning capacity.

1)  Find your rocks: These are people who best understand your values and responsibilities. One may be enough. Make them critique your ideas and actions. If they can think well, they will see issues and options that you are overlooking when you are stuck or discouraged.

2) Find your sources: These are people who can find information you can trust. Tell them what you need to know and what short term challenges you are facing. They need to reliably check all new info before asking you to rely on it. Distance anyone on your team who does not analyze and evaluate information well, because they will derail problem analysis and potentially reject good solutions.

3) Take care of your team: Explain how their tireless work to find a path forward is vital to the organization’s survival. To maintain your resilience, you need others around you to defend against depression and angst. Some people crave acknowledgement just to stay on task (Why are they still on the team?), but everyone needs to know that their work is being seen and will be rewarded when the crisis moment has passed. 


Mindful Courage

In a crisis, people make room on the front line. Those who are courageous request responsibility, and they step forward and strive relentlessly to carry through.

Resilience Strategies for Mindful Courage:

Become a more courageous leader:  Here are three strategies for develop mindful courage in your leadership role. 

 1) Reflect on your need for challenge: To be reliably courageous, know your hunger for decision responsibility and stay within your capacity for risk and threat. Reflect honestly on your tolerance for being confronted by extremely difficult problems. Are you a front-line problem-solver, or do you prefer the role of reliable and creative associate leader? These are the only two roles a leader should consider in a crisis. Seek out the appropriate level of decision responsibility, and stay active. Action and intense self-evaluation will help you maintain strength and focus. 

2) Stay on point: Courageous efforts are only valuable when initiatives are well conceived. A penetrating analysis of difficult problems, and a well-conceived plan of action, promotes persistent courage when it comes to carrying through an innovative solution when today’s systems fail. Do not let yourself turn away from new challenges. Do not EVER stop analyzing a problem because it’s too complicated, costly, ugly, tiring, demanding. Mindful courage means that you and your team continue to tear at a problem until you can see how it can be managed. There are no points for solving another easier (irrelevant) problem.  

3) Motivate yourself and others: Courageous leaders who think well know why their next steps will succeed. They can motivate teams to actualize initiatives when other would-be leaders fail to act. Some courageous leaders are even on the front line. They guide and react, guide and react, always checking that they have interpreted the problem accurately and evaluating the effectiveness of their tactics.


Learn more

Resilience and mindful courage are just two of the mindset attributes that energize our courageous and creative leaders. Read more about them and how you can train and measure them.

Insight Assessment  provides critical thinking assessment and training tools for business, health science, education and more.

Call us at 650-697-5628 or contact us to learn how INSIGHT tools can fire up reasoning skills and mindset at all levels of an organization.  

image of flames with text, Critical Thinking Skills on Fire

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