Why leaders must never walk away when crisis strikes


Recently I called one of my old friends to book an appointment to visit him in his office. He suggested we meet somewhere in town because he rarely goes to the office due to the many challenges his business is currently facing.

As we chatted over coffee he told me that in the last couple of months his motivation to work from his business office has been very low. His business has been going down since the Covid-19 epidemic, with rising debts and declining sales becoming the norm.

He lamented that passion and motivation to run up and down and work long hours in the business has completely disappeared since things started getting bad during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Feeling down when things are not working well is very normal but then it is important to know as a leader, you are the one to make things get better again.

It is true most entrepreneurs have lost the zeal, passion and energy to drive their businesses. This happens during dark and stormy days.

It is quite normal for many leaders to leave a business that is not doing well to employees and start doing other things or working behind the scenes hoping things will get better someday soon. But hope is not a strategy, and nor is running away from reality.

In the legal field, there is a saying that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. In the same way, business leaders must not only be present but be visible and felt to both staff and customers at all times.

They need to offer motivation and guide the rest of the team through crisis.

When everyone is afraid and worried about the future of the business, as a leader you must stand up and dispel doubts.

This does not mean you don’t have fears or see the dangers ahead. Acknowledge the reality but also exude confidence and hope that you are capable of navigating the crisis.

As leader, you must always communicate and articulate what you are doing to turn things around rather than leave your team stuck in fear and wondering where the business is headed.

You must always paint a brighter picture of the future when you are with your employees and customers. It is your responsibility to starve fear by feeding your employees with hope and showing them a better picture of what’s ahead.

History bears witness that there is always light at the end of the tunnel to the resilient people who persevere in tough times.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after a setback. It is the ability to stay put in the face of challenges and to grow value in a hostile environment.

Being present in your business is the greatest motivation to your team even if you are not doing much. It offers them hope and assurance that the leader is in charge.

One of the key causes of failure or stagnation of many enterprises is the absence of a figurehead to unite and energize the team.

Mr Kiunga is a business trainer and the author of The Art of Entrepreneurship: Strategies to Succeed in a Competitive Market. [email protected]