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Which environment is harder to lead in: a crisis or the boring day-to-day?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

Which environment is harder to lead in: a crisis or the boring day-to-day?

  • Crises are harder to lead in: 17.%
  • Day-to-day environments are harder to lead in: 83.0%

Harder to lead during the calm. It makes sense that it’s harder to lead a team during day-to-day calm periods. There’s no “enemy” to galvanize your efforts. There’s no crisis to rally the team around. It’s just the boring daily operations that have to be done, but they also have to be done well. Just remember the old military aphorism that how you train in peace defines how you fight in war. If you’re not maintaining standards and holding people accountable during the slow times, they’re more prone to mistakes that can be costly during a crisis. If you place the right focus on the details when things are slow, that will be one less thing to worry about during the crisis that’s inevitably going to come your way.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”