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Leading the Way through a Crisis

By Maureen Pollard,

Emotional Health Editor

Maureen Pollard, MSW, RSW is a registered

social worker with a private practice in Cobourg, Ontario. 

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” 

- Joseph P. Kennedy

In challenging times, it is tempting to lay low and let things unfold around you. It can feel frightening to make decisions when faced with uncertainty and rapid change. It is often during these times that leaders emerge. These are the people who take charge, make choices and act to try to make a difference.


Strong leaders keep a positive outlook, they are present and available when difficulties arise for their team or in their community. A strong leader is:

  1. Honest and communicates clearly and truthfully so that others have the information they need to deal with any situation.

  2. Informed, gathering facts and details that are confirmed by credible, reliable sources.

  3. Focused, able to manage their own thoughts and feelings as they work on solving the problem.

  4. Action-oriented and willing to decide, then act quickly and carefully.

  5. Flexible and willing to adapt to changing circumstances even if it means changing a carefully made plan.



People often think the leader is the person designated to be in charge. Sometimes that’s true, but it can be just as true that anyone involved in a difficult situation can use these skills to successfully lead others through challenges and change. You have the potential to be calm, thoughtful and develop these skills, growing into a strong leader no matter what your role in any situation.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” 

- John Quincy Adams