CNLP Bonus 21: Crisis Leadership. Special Panel on Best Practices for Crisis Leadership and Finding Hope with Jud Wilhite, Kevin Queen and Tricia Sciortino

What do you do when you’re leading in the biggest crisis in our lifetime? In this special episode of the podcast, Carey talks to Jud Wilhite, Kevin Queen and Tricia Sciortino about the best practices in crisis management, virtual teams and how to make decisions when things are changing constantly.

Together, the panel has led through deep recessions, tornadoes, career transitions and virtual teams. The team talks about no matter how uncertain and negative as things are, how to find both answers and hope.

Welcome to Bonus Episode 21 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

Jud – Instagram | Central Church
Kevin – Instagram | Nashville Strong
Tricia – Instagram | BELAY

Episode Links

Financial Peace University

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World Health Organization

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Remote Work Resources

3 Rules for Keeping Conflict Low and Passion High at Work by Carey Nieuwhof

How to Lead Through Rapid, Unexpected Change (Responding to COVID-19) by Carey Nieuwhof


1. Cultivate a non-anxious presence in crisis

One of the best pieces of advice Kevin Queen ever received was that in crisis the greatest gift that a leader gives is a non-anxious presence.

The best ways to do that are by grounding yourself  in prayer, accurate information and a team around you that can help you make the best decisions.

If you think about the leaders you most admire in a crisis, they carry a non-anxious presence too.

2. Wait to communicate until you have all the info

In the current crisis, things are changing so quickly that decisions that make sense at 8 a.m. are outdated by 3 p.m.  Resist the urge to communicate too early.

Weigh the evidence, consult your team and make announcements in time, but not too far ahead of time.

Clarity beats certainty, and prematurely announcing your constantly changing plans undermines your authority.

3. Default to video with your staff

Now that all church and business leaders are leading virtual teams, Tricia Sciortino, CEO of BELAY, the largest virtual staffing company in America, suggests defaulting to video as your primary communication method.

Services like Zoom, Skype or even FaceTime make communication more human, more personal and more emotionally intelligent.

Quotes from Episode Bonus 21

The greatest gift that a leader gives in a crisis situation is a non-anxious presence.@kevinqueen Click To Tweet

Don't communicate too early what's still unknown. If you can delay, it's okay. You don't have to have your plan for this weekend on Monday. @JudWilhite Click To Tweet

I would say setting really clear expectations, overcommunicating, and mandating video will be the key places I would start if I was going to start working from home tomorrow. @triciasciortino Click To Tweet

As a leader, you don't really have a choice but to be okay. @JudWilhite Click To Tweet

That's been trying as a leader to be constantly in the place where you're having to change and make a decision off a decision you just made. @triciasciortino Click To Tweet

Times like these really test your character and strength as a leader. @triciasciortino Click To Tweet

You've got to feed your faith to starve your fears. @JudWilhite Click To Tweet

You've got to feel the feelings. Tell yourself the truth, and then embrace life on life's terms. @kevinqueen Click To Tweet

I think the part of us that hurts for people is what makes us leaders worth following. @kevinqueen Click To Tweet

I think once I get over that initial heartbreak of what a crisis is, I remember that the church, the faith community, we're made for moments like this. This is where we're at our best. @JudWilhite Click To Tweet

Don't pretend you have all the answers. @JudWilhite Click To Tweet

You either cry or you laugh. Sometimes you need to do both. @JudWilhite Click To Tweet

God's faithfulness in the past is evidence of his faithfulness in the future. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

You didn't ask for any of this, but you have to lead through it, anyway. @cnieuwhof Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode Bonus 21

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Watch Back Episodes of The Podcast on YouTube

Select episodes of this podcast are now on YouTube. Our new YouTube Channel gives you a chance to watch some episodes, not just listen. We’ll add select episodes to YouTube as time goes on.


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.

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Next Episode: Joseph Sojourner

Pinewood Studios is the largest film studio in North America, and Joseph Sojourner just started a church to reach actors, creatives and crew in the film and TV industry. We talk about that journey, but also SoJo’s personal journey: his diagnosis of narcolepsy, finding his own voice when he stepped onto some of the largest stages in the world, and how he navigates life as a single man, including how to handle scores of sexually charged DMs that he and others might classify as inappropriate.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 329.

CNLP Bonus 21: Crisis Leadership. Special Panel on Best Practices for Crisis Leadership and Finding Hope with Jud Wilhite, Kevin Queen and Tricia Sciortino

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