This article features advice from Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg, a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping business leaders in crisis. She identifies 3 phases in a workplace in reaction to crises: emergency, regression, and recovery.
In the emergency phase, a team’s energy goes up. However, this “rush” doesn’t last forever, and eventually the team succumbs to the next phase.
In the regression phase, the team’s performance falls. Wedell-Wedelsborg advises that in order to make it out of this phase, a leader will need to be very much in tune with team’s emotions. She advises leaders to take care to foster an environment where people can share emotions in the workplace. The risk of not doing this, she says, is for the team to lose their sense of motivation and the perspective of their mission.
In the recovery phase, the goal is to bring back the energy of the emergency phase and get rid of the “primitive” feelings of the regression phase. However, Wedell-Wedelsborg warns not to think of the recovery phase as simply “back to normal,” but to “keep up the pressure to renew and rethink the future.”