Leadership in Crisis: How to Steer a Healthcare Organization Through Difficult Times

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Crisis PlanEffective leadership of any healthcare organization means prioritizing extensive training, planning and preparation for inevitable crises. Preparation includes prioritizing prompt, clear communication with both the outside world and internal teams, with the goal of avoiding damage to the reputation of the organization going through the crisis. Considering that more than half of consumers feel the reputation of any healthcare organization is “very important,” it pays to have the team, training and action plan for a crisis situation well established long before the inevitable transpires. Leaders who are confident and able to maintain emotional control are important players during difficult times.  As you develop your leadership skills and pursue your online MBA with a healthcare focus, keep the following in mind about preparing for the worst, while minimizing potential damage to your organization.

Develop a Crisis Plan

Planning ahead is the key to successfully guiding a team through a crisis event. The following steps compose just a few of the elements of a crisis preparation plan:

  • Organize your crisis management team. Although this group of people will only come online during an actual crisis, the team will need to prepare in advance and generally should meet at quarterly intervals to develop and rehearse a set of action plans that can be implemented any time they are required. Leaders of these teams will need to designate an appropriate location for members to meet and may be responsible for assigning particular roles to each individual. Determine who will send messages, who will speak directly to the media, who will be the main contact person and beyond.
  • Train and rehearse crisis communication. During a crisis situation, the outside world will be demanding information, often more quickly than it can be provided. Ignoring media requests for information is likely to backfire; even something as simple as, “A full statement will be delivered as quickly as possible,” is helpful when properly delivered. Make sure each team member fully understands and is well-practiced in their particular role in communicating information to the public through multiple channels, including broadcast and social media sources as well as during face-to-face interactions.
  • Be ready to call in your team and take action. Leaders in a crisis situation will be responsible for calling in their crisis management team members and relaying information, which then must be communicated to the public. Clear, professional, and ethical communication has been shown to retain public confidence most consistently. A calm presence is also extremely reassuring and is best achieved when crisis team members are well prepared in advance.

Great Leadership Skills Are Essential During Difficult Times

Great leadership skills are critical in minimizing any damage to the reputation of a healthcare facility during and after a crisis situation. You don’t want to be caught unprepared when minutes matter. Individuals with a prior background in any aspect of healthcare who are interested in filling an important role in leadership should consider earning an MBA in healthcare management online through the George Washington University.

Additional Reading

The Key To Saving Your Hospital