By Martin Murphy, Founder Elite Leadership Global Academy

I’ve been asked a lot recently about how one should lead their team during this COVID-19 crisis.

The first thing to remember is not to fall into a victim mindset yourself. It’s often expected that you as the leader should be Teflon coated and impervious to doubts. That’s not true, we all suffer doubts. To overcome them it’s important to remember this situation is not:

Personal: The first noble truth of Buddhism is that life is painful at times, but suffering is optional. The suffering comes from you developing a ‘victim mindset’ and thinking this challenge is personal… it’s not.

Punishment: Sometimes we can beat ourselves up by thinking that we deserve what’s happening because we’re not good enough. The business world can be a cruel and competitive environment and I’ve never heard of a perfect ‘businessperson’ that’s never experienced fears or failures.

Pervasive: There are parts of your life that are not in crisis, focus on those areas and savour the moments of respite and celebrate small wins.

Permanent: Nothing lasts forever, not even your troubles so plan and build what you can for a brighter future.

There are three typical responses in this situation.

Fear focussed: People are paralysed by the fear of losing everything and emotions, like the COVID-19 virus, are contagious.

Un-focussed: Not sure what to do in this situation, thinking that they as leader have to have all the answers, that’s not true.

Mission-focussed: You do not have to be the font of all knowledge, you as a leader have to leverage the potential of your team and the situation. Follow this path:

React: Get out of danger, you will have all done this by now by establishing remote working for your team and looking for immediate cost savings.

Respond: Now is the time to analyse the situation, get expert help and ask for ideas from the team about what to do going forward.

Re-Group: Simultaneously, you have to engage with your people, remember it’s physical distancing, not social isolation. Loyalty isn’t gained during the good times; it’s gained when the chips are down and people see you’re supporting them when it would just be easier to cut them loose.

How you treat your people now, when fear is high, will echo for a long time. I always say, save the people before the paradigm because your people will help you build your business after this event plus, they’ll be more loyal because you injected certainty into their lives when all around them life was uncertain.

Redirect: Zig when others Zag. Counterintuitively, there are people for whom this event will be a marvellous time and that is because they are opportunity focussed. Whilst some people will have pulled the draw-bridge up and be waiting for normality to return, effective leaders will thrive in the disorder, learning new skills, collaborating with their team and creating new connections, ideas, products, modus-operandi and a zest for a promising future.

For more ideas on self-leadership go here:

I published a book on developing high performing teams in business. As a contribution for those who want to learn new leadership and teamworking skills I am offering complimentary digi-copies. Send an email :

I am also offering complementary 20-30 minute Zoom calls for those with questions, or just need a sounding board, again just email for details.