8Crisis leadership

A leader’s new normal

Robert J. Darling and Stephen Young

For centuries, academics and experts have been saying, “Nothing tests a leader like a crisis and nothing defines an organization like a senior leader in a crisis”. During a crisis, all aspects of a leaders’ leadership knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics are under the microscope and subject to intense scrutiny and judgment, often influencing an organization’s viability and good standing after such an event.

But just what constitutes a crisis? How is it different from an emergency? According to Leonard (2009, pp. 4–5),

a crisis is a negative event that is “sui generis,” meaning no suitable prescribed response can be found. It has grown beyond the standard ...

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