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30 March 2023

Developing Crisis-Ready Leaders

Business Psychologist, Sandra Ordel, shares practical advice on how organisations can build the next generation of crisis-ready leaders.

In our recent panel discussion, Organisational Resilience in a Time of Crisis, Business Psychologist Sandra Ordel discussed the crucial role that leaders play in building crisis-ready organisationsIn an era of ongoing disruption and uncertainty, how can organisations ensure that their leaders are equipped to navigate the way forward?  

What does a crisis-ready leader look like?  

Crisis-ready leaders have 3 core qualities.  

1. They have strategic self-awareness  

Crisis-ready leaders have strategic self-awareness. They understand their own strengths and development areas, and they know how they impact other people. This self-awareness informs their actions and sets the tone for others to follow.   

2. They have a growth mindset 

Crisis-ready leaders have a growth mindset. They are open to learning and see challenges as an opportunity to grow.  

3. They develop personal agility 

Crisis-ready leaders take ownership of their behaviour, and they understand how to adapt to increase their effectiveness.  

How can crisis-ready leadership be developed?  

1. Assessment  

Assessment is critical when developing crisis-ready leaders. Leaders need to know their strengths, limitations, and blind spots. They can get information from a variety of sources such as psychometrics and 360 feedbacks. At The Wellbeing Project our particular focus is on building workforce resilience, and we start by giving leaders a psychometric assessment of their own physical, psychological and social resilience. It is a valuable foundation for ongoing learning and development.

Learn more about our workplace resilience training.

2. Learning 

Learning is about acquiring new skills and new behavioural strategies. One-off training is a good starting point. However, it is unlikely to result in measurable and effective behaviour change. Lasting change requires consistent and continuous learning. 

3. Development 

Bursts of input and instructor-led training need to be supported by coaching, mentoring, networking and peer learning. This needs to be a meaningful, ongoing process where leaders feel empowered and held accountable for their development.   

4. Prioritising DEI in Leadership 

Organisations need to prioritise diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in their leadership development programs. They must ensure that they are creating a pipeline of diverse leaders who can lead diverse teams. Particularly during times of crisis where innovation is low, organisations need multiple perspectives in their leadership team. So, when identifying and developing leaders, building DEIB into succession planning is essential.  


In an uncertain business landscape, crisis-ready leaders are essential. This requires organisations to take a strategic approach to leadership development. With a clear commitment, leaders can develop the ability to navigate their way forward, whatever lies ahead.  

About the Author

SANDRA ORDEL is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist at The Wellbeing Project. She has extensive consulting experience within a wide range of organisations and industry sectors.

Watch the webinar

Watch “Organisational Resilience in a Time of Crisis” on-demand.

Watch the webinar