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Agile Coaches' Corner shares practical concepts in an approachable way. It is for agile practitioners and business leaders seeking expert advice on improving the way they work to achieve their desired outcomes. If you have a topic you'd like discussed, email it to, or tweet it with #agilethoughtpodcast.

Jul 31, 2020

Today on the podcast, Dan Neumann and Christy Erbeck are discussing how to lead in times of crisis and come out of it stronger than ever.


As a leader, it is critically important to take care of yourself during crises to be able to lead others through them, as well. In this episode, Christy shares her tips for leading through crisis, key strategies leaders can begin to implement, and how to cultivate a healthy work environment for everyone involved.


Key Takeaways

Christy’s tips for leaders, leading in a time of crisis:

Use it as a time to reflect on where you are now and where you want to be on the other side of it all

Take time to process your emotions and lead from a place of truth

Lead by example; take care of yourself and work at a sustainable pace while encouraging the rest of the team

Transparency is key be transparent about where you are, as a team, as an organization, and in relation to the difficult decisions you’ve had to make to survive the crisis (transparency offers the opportunity for growth and building trust within the organization)

Understand your audience in your approach with being transparent; it is important to care for the person receiving the information

Going hand-in-hand with transparency, it is also critical to communicate (and the need for communication exponentially rises, the greater the crisis)

Meaningful, intentional communication and on-going dialogue between the employee and the leader (or the team and the team members) is critically important for minimizing the stories they may be telling themselves when there is a gap in communication or lack of communication

Connect in a meaningful way with your employees vs. walking away or being silent

Authenticity is critically important in leading through a crisis — it’s not about what you know; it’s about what you’re willing to learn

Do not defer taking action until the last possible moment

How to come out of a crisis stronger than ever with your team:

Delegate decision-making and allow other people to make decisions within a framework

Take pragmatic action

Ensure you are still meeting and talking about your longer-term strategy beyond COVID-19

Examine how to position your organization so that when you come out on the other side of COVID-19 you are attractive to the marketplace and your customers

Leverage OKRs

Apply an experimental mindset and conduct experiments (one way you could do this is to utilize Kanban boards)

Implement empirical process control

Cultivate a culture steeped in trust and forgiveness

Continual planning

Reach out to others as a leader so that you’re not making decisions in a vacuum and are leveraging other people’s expertise

Imagine what the leader that you most respect would do; how would they handle this situation? And how can you tap into this person’s expertise?

Make the time to reflect and gain perspective

Be courageous as a leader by being vulnerable


Mentioned in this Episode:

The Dave Ramsey Show

Brené Brown

“A Guide to OKRs,” KOAN

Agile Coaches’ Corner Ep. 5: “Exploring an Experimental Mindset with Adam Ulery”

“What is a Kanban Board?”

Small Business Administration (SBA)

SCORE — Service Corps of Retired Executives


The Conference Board

Harvard Business Review

“Microsoft Analyzed Data on its Newly Remote Workforce,” Harvard Business Review

“Managing When the Future is Unclear,” Harvard Business Review

“Leadership in Times of Crisis,” American Psychological Association

“How to Survive a Recession and Thrive Afterward,” Harvard Business Review

“The Downside of Flex Time,” Harvard Business Review

“The Reopening Challenge: 5 Tips for Getting Back to Business,” Inc.

“COVID-19 is Reshaping Business: 6 Tips for Coming Back Even Stronger,” Forbes


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