How to Be a Great Leader in Crisis

The world’s in crisis and it’s time for great leadership.

We have three crises happening at once:

  1. A global pandemic similar to the influenza of 1918
  2. A worldwide economic downturn comparable to the Great Depression of 1929
  3. Social unrest equal to the late 1960's

Leadership is not enough. We require great leadership to get us through this crisis period.

Defining leadership as declaring a vision, holding the potential for the best possible outcomes and inspiring others to share in that vision is a solid way to look at leadership in normal times.

These are not normal times.

This is the time for great leadership.

Great leaders know when to lead from the front, from the middle or from the back.

In Nelson Mandela’s words,

“A leader is like a shepherd. He stays behind the flock,

letting the most nimble go out ahead, whereupon the others follow,

not realizing that all along

they are being directed from behind.” 

For all leaders out there, making the right choice of how to lead is critical to effectively leading others through this time of world crisis.

As a leader, should you lead from the front, middle or back?

To answer, you need to know your position on 4 fronts:

  1. The Idea.

Is it your idea? This is easy to answer in a company setting as a leader, it generally is your idea. The idea of the company is your vision. However, on the world stage, this isn’t the case.

An idea is not the same as a vision. Your vision may be to bring in an expert to teach about healthcare during a pandemic. It may be to provide a setting for minorities to participate in your offerings. It may be to hold a protest rally.

However, the idea goes much deeper. The idea is the virus, economic downturn or social injustice itself.

The idea is much bigger than you or your vision.

In this time of crisis, great leaders know this to be true. They know the idea is not birthed with them, but from outside circumstances.

  1. The Agenda.

Who owns the agenda? A healthcare expert on infectious diseases knows the agenda of the virus. An economist predicts the agenda that may be successful in turning the economy around. A member in the community for social justice knows its agenda through experience.

Looking to leaders within each specialty is key for getting the agenda right. If a leader wants to help during this crisis, they need to know coming up with an agenda on his or her own isn’t appropriate. It may even be detrimental.

  1. The Stories.

Whose story is it?

For the pandemic, it’s members of the CDC, WHO, infectious diseases and healthcare community, first responders, carriers, delivery and warehouse personnel and essential front-line workers. It’s for those who’ve contracted COVID-19 and their families.

For the economic downturn, it’s economists, government leaders, business leaders and disrupters and innovators. It’s for those greatly impacted by the permanent 10.5% economic shrinkage, according to the study by the Becker Friedman Institute published on May 5, 2020 as reported by The New York Times.

For social injustice, it’s minorities. Period. A non-minority leader does not own these stories and shouldn’t try to co-opt them.

  1. The Stage.

A leader typically takes the stage to inspire others to share in the vision.

However, a great leader knows to yield the stage to those most directly impacted by the agenda and stories.

For each leader, asking themselves where he or she stands in relation to these 4 points; idea, agenda, stories and stage will find the answer immediately about whether to lead from the front, middle or back.

Those leaders dealing directly with the pandemic, economy or social justice are those to lead from the front. Those dealing indirectly with any of these crises should give to the floor to the direct leadership and either lead from the middle or the back.

Great leadership is required now more than ever.

This is a call for great leaders.

Great leaders who answer it effectively will become part of history.


Author bio

Kim Woods, Spiritual Leader and Transformation Expert, helps successful female business leaders shed other’s expectations to live their true life's purpose. As her clients tap into the power of their core alignment, they find fulfillment, passion and ease. Kim’s clients range from Fortune 500 companies & 7-figure CEO’s to solopreneurs and creatives. Her latest work:

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue 16 Media.

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