It is coming up to six months in this global crisis, and so much has been revealed in terms of leadership. Some came up strong and some did not. Some were a surprise we did not see coming, others were the usual suspects. A crisis does that. Character shows up. Change is usually in the offing.

Wise leaders will take advantage of this time and place the right people in the right functions on their teams if they understand the opportunity afforded by these three elements.

Let us go one at a time.


The dictionary defines a crisis as

“a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point.”

A crisis tends to reveal things in an amplified way. Some of the things are already known and others are a surprise, we had no clue they were there. A crisis tends to squeeze the best…or worst from people. The interesting thing is that although crises are guaranteed, many leaders do not plan for it.

And yet they can be very valuable in revealing things that we need to know about our team…or ourselves as leaders.

It may be argued that it is not possible to plan for every single scenario that life or business gives us but it is possible to look at different scenarios. What we are establishing here is that crises are as sure to come as the sun comes up every day, cloud cover or not.

That is good for a leader to know…and prepare for.


The second element is defined as

“the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.”

Character is who you really are, and it is based on our values. Some of it shows up in the usual daily interactions we have with people. But some need to be “assisted” out of us.

Crisis helps with the “assisting” or squeezing the character out of people. This crisis has revealed different types of characteristics for leaders. There are strong ones, weak ones, vocal ones and all those in between.

The thing about our character is that it will always show at one point or another. A crisis forces your true self to spring out, in whatever way, shape or form.

The leader should be on the lookout for these traits to show up. You will be able to see who you need to place where. The analytical, the drivers, the ones who can handle the public relations, the ones for the think-tank.

You will see them, and adjust accordingly as your team moves forward through this crisis.


As we go through a crisis,  our character is amplified and change happens, planned or otherwise.

Again, the dictionary on change:

“to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone”

The current Covid-19 crisis has changed the world as we knew it. Behaviours we were entrenched in have been challenged and we have had to make the “sink or swim” type of decisions.

How long should lockdowns be? Just how do we ease the restrictions? Are masks safe? What constitutes essential services? And ad infinitum.

Whatever questions we need to answer, change is inevitable.

And the leader is at the heart of all change.


Enter the leader into this mix and we pretty much see a chef in the kitchen. The task before every leader is to utilize the opportunities this crisis has brought to the kitchen table. The leader has the work of watching the character traits that surface during this time and help to effect change in the team member’s lives.

It is probably not the best time to work on changing character but it will definitely give a starting point to allocate the right people for the right roles in this moment of crisis.

In other words, the crisis surfaces the character that informs the changes that need to be made. This is the leader’s lot to deal with.

It is better late than never.

After all, your team stands to gain.

Sunganani Manjolo