Unfortunately, most leadership “recipes” arise from examples of good crisis management. This is a mistake, and not only because chaotic situations are mercifully rare…Indeed, a specific danger for leaders following a crisis is that some of them become less successful when the context shifts because they are not able to switch styles to match it.
Moreover, leaders who are highly successful in chaotic contexts can develop an overinflated self-image, becoming legends in their own minds. When they generate cultlike adoration, leading actually becomes harder for them because a circle of admiring supporters cuts them off from accurate information.
Yet the chaotic domain is nearly always the best place for leaders to impel innovation. People are more open to novelty and directive leadership in these situations than they would be in other contexts. One excellent technique is to manage chaos and innovation in parallel: The minute you encounter a crisis, appoint a reliable manager or crisis management team to resolve the issue. At the same time, pick out a separate team and focus its members on the opportunities for doing things differently. If you wait until the crisis is over, the chance will be gone.
—David Snowden and Mary E. Boone
Harvard Business Review
February 26, 2008