When a crisis occurs, the first reaction of many is a surge of anxiety and the desire for it to go away.
The next reaction then is to deploy a protocol.
And the protocol people will pull, is the one they have trained for.
That is, they prepared for such a situation and practiced whatever they assumed would be needed. However, the used practice sometimes is only the habitual response to anxiety. It is used whenever nothing else is available.
That’s the reason people prepare for crisis and hope for the possibility to know it all in advance. And for many types of crises, it is quite possible to prepare oneself.
Take earthquakes, floods, fires, or other events nature reserves for us. Most countries established a well-defined infrastructure with trained personnel and invited the population to prepare for such situations.
Or take accidents as they might happen in the workplace. Usually established protocols and equipment are available allowing people to react appropriately.
Leaders know that crises occur and can’t be prevented altogether as much as they may do to reduce risks. Which means that they also prepare for their occurrences.
But some crises can’t be prepared for.
And not all of them are dangerous or an immediate threat.
Nevertheless, a natural reaction often kicks in.
The more we’ve become connected with the global economy, and impacted nature on earth, the faster change has been coming toward us. And it is impacting us more than in the past, maybe not directly, but sufficiently that people feel they have to react to it. This is even more relevant for leaders.
It means that nowadays, the habitual response leaders have to the occurrence of a crisis may very well be a threat in itself.
It requires leaders to develop self-awareness about their habitual response and its impact on their team to be able to know how much of a risk their habits are to their performance.