3 Highly Effective Ways to Support Your Senior Leader During the Current Crisis


This is a blog post by Dillon Smith. Dillon is the Content Manager for Carey Nieuwhof Communications and a member of the Speaking Team. You can book Dillon to speak at your next (probably online) event, or on for an interview on your podcast here.

By Dillon Smith

In this world of Coronacrisis, you definitely find yourself in uncharted territory.

If you’re like me, when the market crashed, and everything began to close down as a result of COVID-19, I didn’t know what to do besides look to my leader and wait for marching orders.

I just had to trust that Carey would make the right call at the right time.

But, I knew I wasn’t doing any good just standing there doing nothing.

I knew that I had to find a way to add value to the organization even though everything about my regular job had changed.

But the question is how?

I’m sure your job is very different from mine, but I’m beginning to see a few principles that all young leaders can embrace to help them thrive in this season.

This post is a part of a free blog series on the current global crisis. If you want more on the topic, you can check out these other posts:

Crisis Leadership, Christian Leadership and the Corona Virus

How to Lead Through Rapid, Unexpected Change

8 Ways to Lead in the New Digital Default Church

5 Ways The Current Crisis is Accelerating The Arrival of the Future Church

My Top 7 Rules for Leading a Digital Team

3 Simple Ways To Make Sure You Don’t Break In the Crisis

8 Early Tips for Producing Digital Content During the Current Crisis

Why Motivation Alone Won’t Get Your People (Or You) Through This Crisis

The Three Kinds of Leaders You See In A Crisis

5 Predictions About the Future Church While Everything’s Still Unknown

My team has also produced a free course on crisis leadership called How to Lead Through Crisis: Strategies for Navigation Rapid and Unexpected Change

You can get instant access to the course here. It’s 100% free.

Now, here are three powerful ways to support your boss during the current crisis.


There’s a ton of useless noise out in the world right now. The last thing you need is to be listening to unreliable sources.

When I first saw the mainstream news covering Coronavirus on their social channels, I assumed it was nothing.

I thought, “The news always blows things out of proportion. Why would this be any different?”

So when did I begin to take the virus seriously?

I began to take it seriously when Seth Godin and Tim Ferris (both highly-influential business leaders) sent out mass emails about the very real threat that Coronavirus posed to the world.

Then, over the next few days, my ridiculously smart uncle who leads a team of pharmaceutical scientists and a friend of mine who works in a university lab both began expressing deep concerns about the virus.

All four of them referenced reliable sources and pointed out the very real dangers that the virus posed, and none of them did it via social media.

I knew we were in trouble.

A week later, churches were canceling Sunday services, businesses were closing, and the stock market crashed.

At the same time, I continued to see people on Facebook share headlines saying “This virus isn’t actually a threat” or “The flu is more dangerous” or “China made it up.”

While listening to all of these voices, I’ve noticed a trend.

You are much more likely to find the truth (backed by detailed research) on a trustworthy email list rather than on social media or TV.

So who have I been listening to?

Here are a few people that I have found massively helpful throughout this crisis:

Seth Godin
Tim Ferris
Carey’s Crisis Leadership Content
Mayo Clinic
The World Health Organization
The Center For Disease Control
Bill Gates’ Ted Talk
Johns Hopkins
Actual trained scientists and doctors in my life.

There’s another bonus to listening to reliable sources.

When you’re listening to credible sources and you share that valuable information with your leader, they begin to trust you more.

This is huge, because right now your leader is putting everyone around them into two categories: people they should be listening to, and people that should be listening to them.

Getting into that first category in a time like this could be a game-changer for your career.


One of the many roles I play for our company is making sure that Carey’s site publishes regular and helpful content to all of our platforms and our email list.

Normally, we have a whole system around when Carey writes the content and I schedule it.

This crisis dropped a bomb on that system.

Ever since we started focusing on Coronavirus, we’ve:

  • Launched a brand new weekly live event and podcast
  • Launched a brand new course
  • Completely changed our blog approach
  • Gave our regular leadership podcast a pandemic overhaul (twice)

In response to this, I’m just rolling with whatever Carey wants to release on whatever day he wants to release it. I’ll make sure the daily posts and emails are done, but Carey and I might be posting them in real-time rather than our normal few days ahead.

For you, maybe you’re a youth pastor, and your old job was to put on a big Wednesday night event for students.

That weekly method and system is gone, but you can still accomplish the mission of discipling your students.

You can release daily Insta-Story Q and A’s, encourage your volunteers to check in on their students every couple of days, or a million other ways to still do your job.

The main thing is this: Don’t wait for your leader to give you a new method, find a new method to use accomplish your mission, and bring it to them for feedback.

Your leader doesn’t have the time or energy to reinvent their role and yours, but I’m guessing they’re glad to give feedback on the ideas you bring.


Your boss has had to make some extremely tough decisions over the last few weeks.

If you’re lucky enough to still have a job, that means that they think you are worth your paycheck, even if it brings the company closer to bankruptcy.

The actions you and your coworkers take today will determine who (if anyone) gets laid off tomorrow.

This isn’t a time to do the bare minimum.

This is a time to passionately work until the job is done.

This is the time to get more work done in less time than anyone on your team thought was possible.

For example…

It’s been 3 weeks since the seriousness of Coronavirus hit our company.

In the first 10 days, we as a team went from an idea to marketing for a brand new course called How To Lead Through Crisis.

This course wasn’t on our radar before Coronavirus, but we thought it would be a great way to help leaders ASAP.

Normally, creating a course like this would have taken months. But our team put this one together in a week. It. Was. Crazy.

We filmed on Friday, edited over the weekend, built out the pages on Monday and Tuesday, and launched on Wednesday.

Did we work long hours? Absolutely! My coworker Sam worked two 12-hour days leading up to the launch.

Was it worth it? 100 times yes. So far over 5000 leaders have enrolled in the course.

You might need to work a little harder too.

Embrace it.

This crisis won’t last forever. When your team comes out on the other side, your boss is going to remember your commitment.

Just remember, you have to keep yourself healthy.

You need to be efficient and impactful, but also pace yourself. This virus is a marathon; not a sprint. This won’t be a short-term Crisis. We need to be ready to meet people in the aftermath as well.

If you want to thrive after the coronavirus crisis, do everything you can to thrive during it.


The world is experiencing a series of unprecedented challenges, and you’re leading in the midst of it all.

I’ve got a brand new online, on-demand course, called How To Lead Through Crisisthat can help you lead your team, your church and yourself through the massive disruption.

The course is the gift from me and my team to you and leaders everywhere. In light of everything that’s going on, we decided to make it available 100% free.

Inside How To Lead Through Crisis, you’ll learn how to:

  • Cultivate a non-anxious presence that inspires confidence and trust.
  • Care for yourself so the crisis doesn’t break you.
  • Master the art of fast-paced, clear decision making.
  • Gather and interpret the most reliable data that will advance your mission
  • Advance digitally to scale past physical barriers and grow your outreach.
  • Lead your team and congregation remotely

While no one has all the answers in a crisis this big, in the course, I share the mindsets, habits, tools and strategies that I believe will help you lead through crisis to get you and the people you lead to a new (and better) future.

You can enroll and get instant access for you and your team here.


How are you doing? Are you hanging in there?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below…


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