The striking feature of leadership conversations during a crisis is that the leaders regularly have the same complaint, saying the same thing over and over again. Leaders are the stewards of an organisation's mission, its reputation, and its culture. To get the message out, and to have it sink in, requires a lot of repetition. You will find yourself communicating the same thing so many times that you get tired of hearing it, but you can't stop.
A crisis provides an opportunity for leadership.
It is an opportunity precisely because in a crisis, the spotlight is on, and everyone is paying attention. And not only are they paying attention, but they are wanting you to make sense for them, what just happened. That is the opportunity for leadership. A single crisis, under the glare of the spotlight, is more effective at getting your message out, about who you are, and what your organisation stands for, than 100 meetings or 1,000 speeches.
The spotlight itself is not the only reason crises are opportunities for leadership.
A crisis typically occurs only after something bad happens, and at an inopportune time not of your choosing, your actions are more important. Because you are under pressure and your options available are few and often very costly, the choice you make, and the way you handle yourself signals more information to those watching than what you do when the pressure is off.
Everyone can look good and make the right decision when times are good. It is when times are tough, when you are in a crisis, when making the right decision is not obvious nor easy, that it is harder to look good. And so, when you can pull it off, people notice.
And after the crisis is over and the spotlight is turned off, that opportunity for leadership will be gone. It is up to you to take advantage of those opportunities, to take advantage of crises when they arise.