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Leadership crisis: signs and solutions

Cegos Team

A leadership crisis erupts when leaders lose the trust and confidence of their followers. This situation, whether in a household, organization, or country, implies a significant loss of equilibrium.

Generally, a leadership crisis is preceded by signs that help us understand what is happening and prompt us to look for the right tools to address them in the right way.

Such instability, if not detected and addressed promptly, can derail even the most promising projects. This article will explore the signs that foreshadow a leadership crisis, and effective strategies to overcome them. Follow us as we delve into this important topic…

Signs of leadership crisis

When teams are consistently uninformed of their leader's direction, or worse, refuse to follow it altogether, it's a sign of trouble. While a diverse team environment is healthy, there are identifiable signs that can anticipate a leadership crisis.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Constant criticism: It is vital to be aware of your collaborators constantly pointing out your mistakes or criticising your approach, especially to others.
  • Distancing: Occurs when fluid communication breaks down and interactions become brief and purely task-related.
  • Friction and conflict: Analyse if disagreements erupt frequently, particularly over your decisions as a leader. When you do not reach harmonious solutions and constantly impose your decision, a crisis may be brewing.
  • Authoritarianism: A leader resorting to authoritarian tactics is a clear sign of crisis. Someone who must dictate and enforce guidelines without seeking consensus is not considered an effective leader.

In essence, a leadership crisis occurs when a team openly questions its leader's guidelines, shows constant criticism and hostility, and experiences the leader imposing ideas without consensus building.

Consequences of a leadership crisis

A leadership crisis leads to a general loss of motivation, with teams typically limiting their performance to the bare minimum and losing interest in achieving objectives.

The group enters a phase of inertia or stagnation, which prevents continuous improvement and job growth. Complaining becomes routine, fuelling a sense of apathy and a desire to leave the organization.

A direct consequence of the leadership crisis is the desertion of individuals in a work group, and high staff turnover. In companies, this situation results in widespread grievances and stalemates.

How to overcome a leadership crisis?

Leadership crises can be surmounted, but the first step is acknowledging their existence. This requires self-critical reflection and objective evaluation of facts on your part as a leader.

Once you recognise the critical situation, you can work on overcoming it by adopting simple and effective leadership strategies:

  • Recognise the value and effort of the group: Focus on the strengths and achievements of your team members; let them know you appreciate them. This fosters a positive shift in their attitude.
  • Accept your mistakes: Engage in self-criticism and share the results with your team. This will not diminish your leadership image; instead, it will build trust.
  • Empower your team members: Share decision-making power to streamline tasks and stimulate team member commitment.
  • Resolve conflicts through consensus: Encourage sincere and democratic dialogue to detect conflicts and dissent. This allows for collaborative solutions.
  • Encourage dialogue, diversity and active listening: Differences enrich workgroups and leads to improved performance. Encourage the expression of diverse opinions, listen actively and learn from everyone to become a true leader.
  • Change your approach and attitude: Rethink your approach and leadership style to mend the broken bond with your team. Continuously develop your leadership skills and prepare yourself.

Leadership crises can be overcome if the leader is able to recognise mistakes, foster sincere and respectful dialogue, and encourage consensus-based conflict resolution.


Now that you understand the signs of a leadership crisis and its consequences, you, as a leader, are now equipped with the tools to successfully overcome it.

A well-led team will confidently tackle any task, building their experience and propelling the organisation forward.

This article was originally written in Spanish by the Cegos Latin America team, and published in the Cegos LatAm blog.

Written by

Cegos Team

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