Leading in Crisis | Discovery Series

MSc Strategy, Change and Leadership graduatesHear from our alumni and academic community

‘A crisis is an event which has low predictability and high uncertainty. It is a poorly defined problem and has a lack of clarity about impact and options. Therefore as leaders it is only natural when faced with this situation that we fall back onto the domain we are most competent at- be that in strategy, operations, or interpersonal skills.’

This was how Helen Ballard, MSc Strategy, Change and Leadership Programme Manager, opened our recent Discovery Series event which brought together our academic and alumni community to share thought leadership. Helen was joined by Dr Igor Pyrko and School of Management (now part of the University of Bristol Business School) alumni, Liam Poole (MSc 2021) and Suzanne Easton (MSc 2020), who discussed some of the issues that have arisen in leading through the pandemic, confronting climate change and being faced with an ageing population.

The panel went on to discuss Grint’s Classification of Problems and how the speed of decision-making changes for each crisis that we may find ourselves in. ‘Many would describe decisiveness as the key attribute to a great leader. Yet in a problem where there is no clear answer (Grint would describe this as wicked), this will not be the case- instead we would need to consult widely and analyse.’

The panel agreed that as leaders an understanding of which domain we are most comfortable with, what classification the crisis is defined as and an awareness of our own leadership style will help us to manage teams throughout crisis.

Catch up on our highlights video to hear the panel’s thoughts on ensuring psychological safety amongst the workplace, how to lead change fatigued teams and whether crisis leaders make good leaders in a non-crisis.

In the University of Bristol Business School our focus is on the most pressing global and societal challenges of our time. We want to drive forward issues that influence the everyday lives of communities around the globe such as what the future will bring for the workforce in the UK and around the world. These topical issues are also central to our teaching. We offer a range of postgraduate programmes that directly address the demand for skills in areas such as MSc Business Analytics and MSc Human Resources Management and the Future of Work. Our Strategy, Change and Leadership executive education programme also offers the opportunity for professionals to build on their management experience and progress their leadership career.

We look forward to hosting more ‘intriguing conversations’ as part of the ‘Discovery Series’. If you are a member of our alumni community and would like to connect with the school, please get in touch with Kate1.fisher@bristol.ac.uk

Find out more about the research being undertaken in the school on our webpages.