Effective Leadership in Times of Crises

This blog was published shortly after the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a truly inspirational leader. 

Across her 70 year reign, Queen Elizabeth continually demonstrated what it takes to be a true leader with an unwavering sense of resilience, courage and commitment to public service. 

In light of her passing, we have reflected on her service, and her ability to offer a sense of stability through multiple wars, economic downturns and other crises like no other is a source of inspiration for many. 

She will not only be remembered as our Queen but as an unwavering leader. 

We believe that as a leader, the Queen was an inspiration, and we have created this blog in recognition of her leadership style to inspire other leaders, be that in business or elsewhere to take note. 

We find ourselves in an age of continued disruption, and it is within these times that people look to their leaders for inspiration, empowerment and direction. 

True leaders do not shy away in times of crisis but instead pull their team together to weather any pending storms and come through even stronger, building resilience for whatever future crises may arise. 

It is fair to say that the idea of leadership, and what a leader should be has changed over the course of history, and varies from business to business, but understanding how to lead your specific team in a way that works for both you and your team is paramount. 

Let us take a look at some leadership characteristics that allow us all to withstand crises. 

Emotional Intelligence

We are living in an incredibly turbulent world. And for most that surpasses business life and is bleeding into personal lives. 

As a leader, it is imperative your emotional intelligence enables you to make decisions that are right for all involved, and these decisions can be communicated to stakeholders in a way that justifies the result of action for the individuals as well as the bigger picture. 

Leading with empathy enables you to harness trust as a leader which helps foster loyalty. Understanding that people may be in a very different position to yourself, and having the self-awareness to know how to still be accessible despite possible differences is key

We are in a cost-of-living crisis, and this is a prime example of how leaders must use their emotional intelligence to get their people through. Though you personally may not be able to solve this problem, nor may it affect you less than someone on your team, understanding the problem and the ramifications so suitable adjustments can be made to ease any pressures is how good, emotionally intelligent leaders should be acting. 

No shying away in times of trouble 

It can be easy for leaders to attempt to hide away from sharing news in times of trouble, when in fact often creating a culture of transparency may in fact lead to quicker solutions. 

The truth is, people can see when tides start to turn, and when leaders shy away from outlining issues, employees quickly gain a mistrust for the longevity of a company and begin to jump ship. 

Transparent teams who are informed of troubles are able to feel empowered to solve problems, rather than become disenfranchised with a company they feel are keeping secrets. 

Of course, a leader has the overriding responsibility to steer the ship out of troubled water, however a leader who is able to ask for help in creating a strategy will get out of choppy waters much quicker, with a team that has a reinstated sense of purpose and drive. 

Resilient leadership

Leaders are often praised for their successes, but it is often the hardest time that true leadership shines. 

The best leaders know that not all times are good, and difficulties have to be fought through in order for success to be paved. The issue many leaders have is that resilience is built

Resilience is upholding a sense of emotional intelligence, drive and professionalism despite any troubles faced. The difficulty with resilience is that it is built through the experience of hardship. Leaders that have yet to face adversity are unlikely able to demonstrate resilience. 

When you are a person with people relying on you, you must be able to withstand difficulty, and maintain a sense of composure to create and act on action plans to succeed. 

The moment people see the person at the top crumble is the moment people begin to lose faith in operations, which will accelerate negativity rather than motivate people to weather the storm.

Uphold boundaries

People often say leadership is a lonely place to be. But upholding the right kinds of boundaries as a leader is vital in upholding professionalism, and responsibility. 

Whilst the culture of transparency we touched upon earlier is a necessary trait for a leader to possess, the lines between leader, employee and friend should not be blurred. 

Having the right culture in place where your team is able to come to you with problems is paramount, but creating an understanding that a hierarchy is in place for a reason is key. 

Ultimately, a leader is in place to be held accountable for all, if a leader becomes known as a comrade, or as an equal, a risk of a lack of accountability and failure to take responsibility arises. 

When the right boundaries are set, people are able to approach leaders in a way that still upholds a friendly and personable culture, but understands that a duty of care over the whole team remains in place. 

Lead from the front…

Great leaders uphold all of these things, but these four characteristics of good leadership are not the only things that make a truly great leader. All teams are different, real leaders understand the people they manage and develop methods that work best for their needs, instead of trying to fit into a specific box.

Though we have been talking in a business context, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth exemplified these characteristics throughout her reign. As a leader, she has remained resilient through more crises than any other, and she will continue to be a source of inspiration for many years to come. 


Future Insights Network is a future-focused, insights driven, learning network for senior supply chain leaders and their teams.  We help senior leaders to develop supply chain strategies for the future.