Following a crisis, we know that the day after can be a lesson in patience. School leaders, and incident survivors in general, are tired. Many are attempting to function after a sleepless night, foggy-brained and overwhelmed. The physiological and psychological impact of a crisis runs rampant among the masses. School leaders who manage to strategically plan for the aftermath and maintain their own personal rhythms and self-care routines fare better in the 24 hours following a crisis event. What comes after, however, is not a lesson in patience, but one of perseverance.
Most crises do not end after a 24 hour period of time. In fact, the short and long-term impact of a crisis can be far-reaching, depending on the nature of the crisis event. So, what should a leader prepare for in the days following a campus-wide crisis? If leaders can anticipate the what, they can better strategize the how.
What a leadership should consider post-crisis
Michael Hyatt, in his book The Vision Driven Leader, says that when leaders are developing a vision, they should focus on the what and not the how. I believe this is also true when a leader is envisioning how he/she will navigate the post-crisis world. What do you want your leadership to look like during this time? How do you hope your constituents will respond? Once you can clearly define the what, you can focus on the strategy to help you achieve it.
So, just what does a leader need to consider in the days, weeks, and even post-crisis months? Here are a few questions to guide you:
Once you have answered these questions, you can start to clearly define how you might navigate post-crisis terrain as a school leader. Here are a few examples:
In response the first question above, I might state the following:
Post-crisis, I want to feel physically strong and emotionally in control. This will mean that I am well-rested and process my emotions in an effective and healthy manner.
Now I can strategize how I can achieve these desired results. For instance:
I am well-rested and maintain a healthy diet. I eat and exercise regularly and build rhythms of non work-related activity into my day. I process my emotions by maintaining my daily rhythms of meditation, prayer, reading and writing. These efforts are supported by completing The Miracle Morning and a routine of shutting down after work that includes quiet time to myself and no caffeine after 3 PM.
Following this simple process of identifying the what can further guide you in developing the how to support you in the days that follow any crisis or emergency event. Considering what you want each day to look like and how you need your community to feel will guide you in this process. From the what, the how develops more organically. What we will soon, discover, however, is that this short-term game plan can have long-term implications when a crisis isn't just confined to the course of a single day....
Linger a Little Longer:
1. Why do we say that leaders need patience the day after a crisis, but perseverance in the days that follow?
2. What question above was most surprising for you to consider when thinking about post-crisis perseverance?
3. When have you been guilty of leading with how rather than with what? What were the consequences? What was the end result?