Leadership in a crisis: How leaders can support their organizations during the COVID-19 crisis and recovery


This collection of articles draws together McKinsey’s expertise on five behaviors to help leaders navigate the pandemic and recovery: organizing via a network of teams, displaying deliberate calm and bounded optimism, making decisions amid uncertainty, demonstrating empathy, and communicating effectively.

Featured Insights

Leadership in a crisis: Responding to the coronavirus outbreak and future challenges

– For many executives, the coronavirus pandemic is a crisis unlike any other in recent times. Five leadership practices can help you respond effectively.

Decision making in uncertain times

– The timeline for companies to react to the coronavirus has shrunk dramatically. Here are five principles that leaders can follow to make smart decisions quickly during the pandemic.

To weather a crisis, build a network of teams

– This dynamic and collaborative team structure can tackle an organization’s most pressing problems quickly. Here are four steps to make it happen.

A leader’s guide: Communicating with teams, stakeholders, and communities during COVID-19

– COVID-19’s speed and scale breed uncertainty and emotional disruption. How organizations communicate about it can create clarity, build resilience, and catalyze positive change.

How to demonstrate calm and optimism in a crisis

– Six practices can help leaders build their self-awareness and guide their organizations through the challenges ahead.

Tuning in, turning outward: Cultivating compassionate leadership in a crisis

– Four qualities—awareness, vulnerability, empathy, and compassion—are critical for business leaders to care for people in crisis and set the stage for business recovery.

Featured Experts

Gemma D’Auria
Senior Partner, Dubai
Supports organizations to build capabilities, develop leaders, and drive culture transformations in support of stronger financial...
Chris Gagnon
Senior Partner, Austin
Coleads the Organization Practice globally and is head of McKinsey’s OrgSolutions group, helping clients organize in an integrated...
Sarah Kleinman
Partner, Washington DC
Designs and manages large-scale, end-to-end organizational transformations, ensuring that structures, processes, and people are...
Johanne Lavoie
Partner, Calgary
Enhances top-leadership capacity and agility at moments of personal and organizational transitions and supports transformational...
Mary Meaney
Senior Partner, Paris
Coleads the Organization Practice globally and is one of the leading experts in transformational change
Ana Mendy
Partner, Southern California
Helps organizations proactively prepare for adverse events, respond to crises, and transform their culture, with a focus on crisis...
Nicolai Chen Nielsen
Expert Associate Partner, New York
Supports clients in developing the leadership capacity, capabilities, and culture required to execute their strategies and achieve...
Aaron De Smet
Senior Partner, New Jersey
Delivers growth, innovation, and organizational agility and is an expert on culture change, leadership development, team effectiveness,...
Bill Schaninger
Senior Partner, Philadelphia
Designs and manages large-scale organizational transformations, strengthening business performance through enhanced culture, values,...

More insights from our Organization Practice