6 Ways Crises Forge Strong Innovation Leaders

Building a bridge with wooden blocks.

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way companies do business. Strong innovation leaders are meeting the challenge of finding better ways to perform everyday tasks.

This type of leadership is courageous and real. It does not happen overnight, but instead, is forged in times of crisis.

Successful innovation leaders will adopt key behaviors that inspire those around them and invoke positive change. Here are six ways crises forge strong leaders.

Crises Help Leaders Acknowledge Fear

Any crisis is scary, especially when you are navigating uncharted waters. As a leader, you should acknowledge the fears of those you lead, face those fears, then encourage the resolution.

This behavior is historically documented among real leaders whose famous words and courageous actions inspired great change. As President Roosevelt said in his 1933 inaugural address regarding the Great Depression, “There are many ways in which it can be helped, but it can never be helped merely by talking about it. We must act and act quickly.”

Crises Help Leaders Discuss Challenges Openly

Innovation leaders recognize the benefits of openly discussing challenges with employees. When everyone has a clear understanding of what they are facing, the issues are easier to overcome.

Talk about what resources are needed to meet whatever obstacles may be threats to your company. Encourage your employees to become more determined while standing in solidarity. When this shared purpose is realized, you will emerge more resilient than before.

Crises Help Leaders Put Speed before Precision

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation is constantly changing. Innovation leaders process available information as fast as possible to determine the best solutions. This calls for rapid decision-making and last-minute modifications. While precision is a normal priority for leaders, in times of crisis, leaders shift gears to accommodate the reality that speed may trump precision in the short-term.

That said, incomplete information and a clash in priorities can exacerbate anxieties. Leaders work to keep everyone business-oriented while planning for long-term success. 

Crises Help Leaders Pre-prioritize

A crisis calls for reprioritization, especially when it is one of such great magnitude. Decide what your company should and should not do, and make this information public to your employees.

Halt unnecessary expenses, and find alternate ways of getting the job done. For example, instead of outsourcing a task, find people within the organization who can take it on.

Crises Encourage Leaders to Strengthen Their Connections

Strengthening existing connections to the front line while building new ones is essential in times of crisis. You need an accurate picture of what is currently happening in every segment of your organization. Innovation leaders need frequent assessments that will identify problems and help you find solutions.

Create a network of influencers and leaders who can share their vast knowledge of COVID-19 impact and customer sentiment. Bring it all together with technology that captures problems, solutions, best practices, and innovations.

This will improve product delivery by making all relevant information accessible to everyone. Establishing a positive team culture will also result in greater accountability across all departments.

Crises Bring Out the Transformative Potential in Leaders and Organizations

The COVID-19 crisis may cause a digital transformation in the ways companies offer products and how customers buy them. According to a 2019 Blake Morgan survey, 70 percent of organizations either have or are working on a digital transformation strategy. Innovation leaders will be ready for this shift by anticipating change and putting the right solutions in place before the need arises.

Looking for more ways to innovate during the COVID-19 crisis? Check out our COVID-19 response page today!

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