Published: 21st February 2021
Effective leadership communication is most crucial during the time of crisis: Subroto Bagchi
The Mindtree co-founder was speaking at the SAI Thought Leadership series, where he spoke about how crisis should be managed
Crisis isn't a blue moon or a black swan. It is something that has a high probability of happening, said the Odisha government's chief spokesperson during COVID-19 and the chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority, Subroto Bagchi. "The most critical thing during crisis is leadership communication. If the communication fails, the crisis gets out of hand. But often, we communicate during crisis without knowing how it is supposed to be done and that is dangerous," added Bagchi. He was speaking at the SAI Thought Leadership series, where he spoke about how crisis should be managed.
Elaborating about the role of leaders in the face of a crisis, Bagchi said, "Leaders should listen to the voice of dissent. Most leaders fail to do this in the face of crisis. Leaders always seek harmony and consensus. This leads to a false harmony. In moments of crisis, false harmony is a killer." He also added that leaders should be where the actual crisis is. "Leaders have to be present at ground zero, where the problem and wreckage lies. They can't be cosy in a comfortable conference room and talk about managing crisis," he explained.
Bagchi also stated how it is crucial to get professional help during crisis. "Don't DIY something that's meant to be done by a specialist. Speak to a lawyer about the legal culpability or consult a PR professional to write a statement to the press," he advised. "It is important to use simple language during crisis - something that will touch the head and the heart. Don't go for sophistication," he said.
Citing several examples from the world over, Bagchi explained how crisis was handled and how it should be handled. But on a front closer home, he spoke about how Odisha handled the COVID-19 crisis. "A moment of crisis is meant for innovation and not business as usual. Among the many things that Odisha did right during the pandemic and the one that impacted the most was giving every gram panchayat sarpanch the power of a collector. The panchayats were made responsible for handling the migrant workers. The top brass and secretariat weren't handling the situation," Bagchi said.
Answering a question about which of his books should be read first, Bagchi said, “I think a lot of people love to read Go Kiss the World and a lot of people love Professional. I feel Professional is actually very relevant today. Go Kiss the World works because it is the story of every family but I think it is crucial for young professionals of today to read Professional."