Jenkins: What great leaders do in crisis

By Dave Jenkins Jr.
Special to Inside The Pew

It is written in 2 Chronicles 32: 6-8: “He appointed military officers over the people and assembled them before himDave Jenkins in the square at the city gate and encouraged them with these words: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.

Just about anyone can lead when things are going well. The true test of leadership is how you lead during a crisis. I see three significant things that Hezekiah did that allowed his team to succeed in the face of great adversity. First, he set up accountability systems. In verse 6, he established a system that will allow people to have someone to speak to about their concerns. During a crisis situation, you need to allow people to share their mind, but not to the extent that they pollute the minds of others. These officers were probably well trained in the art of keeping peace, but they also understood the bigger picture – you serve the Kingdom and not complainers.

Two, Hezekiah gave an accurate assessment of the situation to the people. In verses 7 and 8, he does not try to sugar coat what was going on. He told them:

  • This is what it looks like: A vast army has surrounded us.

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  • This is what we have. We have a power greater than the challenge we are facing.
  • This is what we will do. We will be strong and not get discouraged because we have the power needed within us to win.

Third, he encouraged the people. The latter part of verse 8 notes, “And the people gained confidence from what Hezekiah the king of Judah said.” Leaders who address the challenges quickly, truthfully and decisively will inspire courage and action in the people they serve. If you wait to take “perfect action,” the opportunity to galvanize and mobilize your team may pass you by.

If your company, church or team is facing a crisis, share with them:

  • The leaders has to express “This is what our challenge looks like.” If you know how the problem started explain that as well.
  • This is what we have going for us that will allow us to come out of this. If you have successfully dealt with this type of problem before and succeeded, then share that.
  • The leader, along with others, must lay out a plan to overcome the challenge. That plan may be to add more focus in a particular area, or work with vendors for temporary price reductions. It may require that you make that change that you have been reluctant to implement.

Dave Jenkins is an ordained minister and leadership and relationship teacher. Jenkins, a former chaplain for the Allen (Texas) Police Department, is a graduate of Grambling State University in Grambling, La., and earned a master’s of Christian leadership from Criswell College in Dallas. He also received advanced counseling training from Amberton University. Jenkins and his wife, Phyllis, are hosts of their own weekly family relationships show, “Marriage Monday,” on KGGR 1040 at 5 p.m. CST. Follow him on Twitter at @IamDaveJenkins and “like” him on Facebook (IamDaveJenkinsJr). Learn more about his ministry at www.davejenkinsjr.com.

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