Crisis Management versus Crisis Leadership

During a crisis, it is crucial for a Crisis Management Team to have balanced skills in Crisis Management and Crisis Leadership to have a successful outcome.  Crisis Management is the short-term tactical aspect and is the more attainable of the two.

It is best characterized as follows:

  • Initial Reactions
  • Tactical Actions
  • Process Focused
  • Narrow

Crisis Leadership is the long-term strategic component of the two and requires more attention as well as development.  It is best described as follows:

  • Anticipating Impact of Decisions
  • Using Corporate Principles to Guide Actions
  • Having a Wide Focus
  • Strategic in Nature

MHA has found that most teams are good at Crisis Management but need more work in developing their Crisis Leadership skills.  So how do we heighten our Crisis Leadership skills?

First, provide training to team members in the basics of Crisis Management and Crisis Leadership.

  Use short 30-minute mock disaster exercises to educate the team in management and leadership skills.

Second, develop mock disaster exercises that require your team to exercise both Crisis Management and Crisis Leadership skills.

Use exercises that require them to initially focus on the immediate needs of the simulated event (e.g., assessment, disaster declaration, deal with the media, address personnel needs, etc.) and then evolve the exercise to require the team to anticipate impacts of their decisions, use corporate principles to make decisions and consider the entire enterprise over the long-term.

We have modified our exercises to spend more time on Crisis Leadership skills once we feel the team has a good handle on Crisis Management.  Remember, it is important that your team is well-balanced in both skills for you to be successful in the face of adversity.

About MHA:  MHA Consulting, with its decade-long track record, is a proven leader in business continuity planning, disaster recovery planning, IT best practices and data center moves and relocations.  Everyday, MHA helps protect trillions of dollars of global-market assets and top companies around the world rely on MHA services for the continuity of their business. For more information, please visit: or contact Patrick Potter at [email protected].

Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.

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