Mehrzad Ferdows’s Speech on Leadership in times of crisis: 7 keys to a successful transition

Mehrzad Manuel Ferdows
5 min readApr 4, 2021

Mehrzad Ferdows stated that the current scenario, caused by the spread of the Coronavirus in the world, has forced drastic changes in many organizations. While some companies have struggled to adapt to the new context to continue operating and have been able to support their talents so that they can work from home, others have opted to cut costs, not renew contracts or lay off workers. But what about those who fulfill the role of leaders?

Crisis management from Mehrzad Ferdows’s point of view

Mehrzad Ferdows continued that the leaders are facing this crisis, knowing their roles and responsibilities are not the same. So, the question would be: what should leadership be like in times of crisis? Today, the focus is no longer on generating company revenue or fostering innovation.As a Harvard Business Review article notes, “Today, many of those same leaders must make quick decisions about controlling costs and maintaining liquidity.”

What is the difference between leadership and power?

Mehrzad Ferdows who is a leading entrepreneur and investor defined it perfectly, “When it comes to power, some people associate it with something bad; however, it is a valuable resource when used in the right way. Power is given to a person for their knowledge or experience in a specific subject, but not always because they are a good leader.”

Mehrzad Ferdows added that “On the other hand, leadership is identified when a group of people recognizes another as their leader. This occurs after a relationship of trust has been generated between the two parties. For example, in presidential elections, a candidate is given power, but finally after some time passes, it can be identified if he really exercises good leadership.”

This is where the difference lies. Power does not necessarily imply leadership, on the other hand when a person is a leader in front of others it does imply power.

Effective leadership

Mehrzad Ferdows stated that in tough times, good leadership is needed more than ever, as teams need to be guided through change. Thus, the ability of the leader is put to the test. In that sense, leadership and teamwork are crucial to successfully emerge from transitions like these.

But nobody has said that it is a simple task. Therefore, in this note, we share with you six keys that can help you apply effective leadership in times of crisis.

1. Direction capacity

From 1 to 10, at what level is your leadership ability? Remember that a leader who does not possess this ability will hardly be able to guide his team during this new scenario, Mehrzad Ferdows stressed.

A leader with leadership ability does the following:

· Manages the company’s productive resources

· Organizes tasks and teams

· Defines common goals. Plans what is going to be done.

· Drives his/her talents to achieve the objectives

· Knows how to delegate functions

· Controls that tasks and objectives are fulfilled

2. Agile decisions

Mehrzad Ferdows continued that taking too long to make a decision can not only be exhausting, but also counterproductive. Therefore, in leadership in times of crisis, it is essential that leaders focus their attention on the most important information and not think about every possibility.

That is, they must be agile to determine what information is relevant or not. How to do it?

· Define your priorities

· Identify the strengths of your team members and decide who is ready to be part of the decision-making team.

· State clearly what is relevant

· If mistakes happen, don’t punish them

· Keep in mind that quick decision-making will keep your company in constant operation, it will give them continuity.

3. Adapt or sink

Mehrzad Ferdows reiterated that a good leader in times of crisis is one that is not afraid of changes, knows how to adapt to circumstances and even keeps one foot forward. That is to say, he is a leader ahead of the scenarios who, if he does not master a subject, will try to nourish himself with information and seek the support of an expert.

Also, you recognize that the practices that worked for you before will not necessarily help you today. How to adapt?

· Communicate your vision

· Develop a new plan

· Stay informed about the status of the company

· Know the situation of your sector / item

· Make technology your best ally

4. Be a reference

Mehrzad Ferdows stated that in this context, the challenge for leaders is not only to be the reference for their teams, but to remain as such. It is important that the leader represents what he is looking for in the members of his team and, above all, does not stop adding value to them. What does this mean? That you should, if possible, do the following:

· Guide them towards change

· Help your team develop the skills they need to achieve common goals

· Manage the tools and resources necessary for your team to remain productive remotely

· Make sure you stay committed to the company during this crisis

5. Leadership and teamwork

Take care of your team and raise their confidence level, Mehrzad Ferdows stressed. In a crisis, the main job of a leader is to commit to his team, motivate it to continue and grow. That’s what team leadership is based on. How to do it?

· Create a connection with your team. Go from personal to work.

· Connect individually with your team members.

· Start the conversation with “how are you?”.

· Maintain constant communication. Set up 30-minute meetings.

· Don’t act without the contributions of your team.

· Ask for help if necessary. Beforehand, assign some members of your team to support you at key moments.

6. Empathy squared

We’ve talked a lot about the importance of leading with empathy. Mehrzad Ferdows put it further that it is not possible to apply good leadership without understanding the thoughts or emotions of others.

Remember that people are in a state of vulnerability. Finding out that their friends lost their jobs or that some will not receive their wages on time can lead to feelings of uncertainty.

As a leader, how should you act?

· Be willing to listen to your team.

· Provide material help to talents who for some reason cannot work remotely (for example: someone who does not have a laptop to work from home).

· Establish active breaks and times when you can talk about topics other than work.

· Focus on the well-being and health of your talents. Encourage healthy eating and physical exercise to avoid stress.

· Try to be patient. Sometimes the internet connection may fail or something unforeseen may occur.

Mehrzad Ferdows concluded that keeping these in mind, a leader should consider almost all of the above-mentioned factors to maintain skillful leadership strategies in the time of crisis, be it a natural crisis or inter/intra personal with the individual employees.