Crisis Leadership Response and COVID-19

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, organizations from the governmental public sector to businesses in the private sector struggle to maintain strong leadership, implement tough strategies, mitigate losses, and manage public response. In the article Pandemics, Preparedness, And Corporate Governance: Boards Should Anticipate The Blame Game, by Michael Peregrine of Forbes magazine, the issues surrounding organizational culture and leadership in crisis are addressed in terms of anticipated failures in the management of the pandemic. Crisis as defined by Kramer and Tyler (1995) is a major threat to system survival which is characterized by insufficient time to respond and an insufficient structure for coping given the resource needs that constrain the situation. Research has shown that leadership needs in times of crisis differ from those of times of calm. The CLRM crisis leadership response matrix, presented by Bowers, Hall, and Srinivasan in Organizational Culture and Leadership Style: The missing Combination for Selecting The Right Leader For Effective Crisis Management, categorizes the organizational culture and leadership styles arranged in a matrix of best leadership style in times of crisis. While there are three ideal leadership styles, transformational leaders perform the best across all organizational styles when an external crisis is at hand. In the current pandemic I show examples of the already ensuing leadership crisis perils unfolding across PR platforms and discuss the best responses and leadership methods determining that best outcomes will be for organizations functioning with both high levels of proactivity, low levels of chasing public response, and quickly implementing necessary change to mitigate losses and maintain solid foundations. Their leaders will be characterized by traits such as charismatic wielding of motivational power, adequate use of referent power in turning to the strongest members of their teams, use of expert power in calling on these skilled professionals, and will be characterized by using proactive behaviors and ingratiation to enable and motivate group efficacy.

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