5 Things Leaders Must Do In Crisis

On February 24th, Putin made history.

Since then, the world has been off-kilter, and the people of Ukraine have been fighting to keep their homes and defend their lives.

All our eyes are on the news now for daily, even hourly updates. It is like we are on the edge of our seats, waiting to see which way it goes from one moment to the next. As we think of and pray for and support those in Ukraine, our thoughts begin to slip toward our own homes, jobs, and futures, and we wonder what is in store for us.

In times like these, leaders have a distinct responsibility to their people. We must do more than just lead as we would any other time; we must lead our people through crisis.

The situation cannot go unacknowledged. When the world is watching so closely, to fail to discuss it with our people would communicate that we are not concerned – and that would convey a denial of their own concerns.

As you bring up the tense situations unfolding in the world right now, keep in mind the 5 things that you as a leader must do for your people right now.

Create a safe environment for them.

When things are uncertain, we seek safety, security, and stability. In fact, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs shows us that without these things, we will not be able to put any of our energy into completing growth-related tasks.

This is especially true if they have friends or relatives at a high risk for being affected, like those in Ukraine right now.

Give your people some room and time in your workplace to voice their concerns or share their worries.

Listen to your people.

I have talked at length about the leader’s responsibility to cast vision. Normally, the leader’s time is best spent maintaining the bigger picture and connecting their people to it.

But now, their primary responsibility has shifted. It is no longer time to try to win anyone’s buy-in.

Show your people that you are there for them by opening your ears to them. Allow them to express themselves, and then move forward informed once you have heard them.

Have an honest and open conversation about the situation.

We must be honest: we are all worried. Leaders must reflect their people’s concerns to show them that they are valid.

Once you have created the space for them to share their concerns and they have done that, honestly assess the situation with them. Your involvement shows your investment.

Discuss the implications. Demonstrate that you are not ignoring things; you have contemplated the situation and its effects on you, your people, your organization, and beyond, but also that you are not without hope.

Share what you are doing.

Once the conversation has been had and your people have been heard, show them how you are responding.

Of course, there is little that many of us can do in direct response to the situation. But if you can do something, how are you helping? If you are limited, how are you proceeding?

How are you securing the future of your organization? How are you keeping your people safe? How are you managing the situation among your own family?

When your people know you have thought this through, you set a tone of intentionality, which offers them a hint of stability.

Give your people hope.

At the end of the discussion, your people cannot be left somber with reality. It may seem impossible, or maybe even irresponsible, to consider that there is a “bright side” to the war going on right now. But there is always some comfort we can offer.

Napoleon Hill said that leaders are dealers in hope – and that is who we must be now.

We know that our people need it, and we cannot guarantee that they will get it somewhere else. They may not get it at home; they cannot run to the store and pick up some; and they certainly will not find it on any channel.

That means we must be that source of hope for them whenever and however we can.


I want to voice my support and utmost concern for those in Ukraine right now – those fighting, those escaping, and those simply surviving. You are in our thoughts and prayers, and we will continue to support you.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and you are not sure how to have this conversation with your team, I am offering my support to leaders who need help in this turbulent time. Click this link to book a 30-minute call with me where we will discuss what challenges you see with your teams and tackle them together.

That’s all for now.

Until next time,


Want More Articles Like this Straight Into Your Inbox?

Subscribe to Leadership for the Now email series and get leadership tips, strategies and opportunities in your inbox every Friday.