334 Who is Leading Your Team Through a Crisis with Adam Sedlack

334 Who is Leading Your Team Through a Crisis with Adam Sedlack

Banner image Who is leading your crisis communication team


In times of crisis, effective leadership is essential. But what does it take to be an effective leader during (and for a future) crisis?

In this episode, Adam Sedlack shares how his strong communication skills helped UFC Gyms, one of the worldwide leaders in MMA conditioning, survive the pandemic.

He will also highlight the significance of using a variety of communication channels to adapt, shift, and respond effectively to fit the communication preferences of your team.

About Adam Sedlack

Adam Sedlack, President of UFC Gyms

Adam Sedlack, President of UFC Gyms, is a seasoned fitness professional with a track record of success in the health, wellness, and fitness industry.

He was named one of the co-founders of UFC GYM by NEV, which is now open in 26 countries across the world!

Along his journey, he developed expertise around domestic and international operations and was highly skilled in negotiation, lease process, budgeting, coaching, marketing, digital, and overall operations.

Given his great expertise in the industry, Adam has also worked with 24 Hour Fitness as a Vice President, demonstrating that he is more than capable of addressing any form of crisis and leading a team through it!


A crisis is an unplanned event that negatively impacts an organization’s ability to function. Natural disasters, political upheaval, and employee misconduct can all contribute to crises.

This disrupts an organization’s normal operations and often leads to financial loss and damage to an organization’s reputation or even the global economy for large firms and corps.

This is where crisis leadership comes into play. But, what is crisis leadership, and why is it important? When it comes to handling the crisis communications team, who is really in charge? Is it the senior executives? The public relations team? The direct reports?


Crisis leaders working developing action plans for their team. 

Crisis leadership involves responding to an organization’s challenges and preventing them from happening again. Adam Sedlack says, “A leader must be empathetic and grounded to do the right thing.”

Generally, crisis management leaders focus on providing psychological safety and emotional support to their employees and customers. They might, for example, acknowledge their concerns and maintain clear communication throughout the crisis.

That’s why this type of leadership is essential to maintaining a positive reputation and avoiding future problems. A person who uses this crisis leadership style also considers the long-term effects of challenging events, maintain public trust, and adequately manages future incidents.

Characteristics of Effective Leadership in Crisis

Leadership is one of the most challenging professions to be in. It involves a significant amount of responsibility, and it can be tough to get people to work together well.

But what are some of the characteristics of an authentic leader? While there’s no such thing as the perfect or best leaders, there are characteristics that must possess the following qualities:

adapt good communication skills

Effective leaders must communicate effectively with their ordinary or crisis management team to get their point across and ensure that everyone is on the same page. This includes applying transparent communication to protect the reputation of the organization while reassuring the customers and employees.

When Adam was asked how he handles communication blockage, Sedlack said that the best way to deal with it is by being transparent.

I can’t speak in all circumstances, but in the world that I’m in, in fitness, I’ve definitely seen some companies that did not handle things in an ideal way. It goes back to transparency and how you bring those around you to accomplish your goal,” he added.

As a crisis leader, you must acknowledge the situation publicly at the start of your communication strategy. This will make the organization highly credible and trustworthy even in adversity.

Team members develop communication for crisis response

always trust your team

Crises can be a test of character for any leader. It stresses the importance of trusting your team and giving them the space to work during a crisis.

In the interview, Sedlack emphasized the need to step up and trust your team. He said, “We need to prioritize providing them very clear steps and support.”

This is also true in times of crisis. Some leaders are instinctively inclined to retain power, but seeking additional support is often beneficial. In fact, leaders who try to micromanage everything often get bogged down by the details and cannot focus on the bigger picture.

But what can you do?

You might seek advice from industry professionals on handling the problem and assigning essential responsibilities. You can even incorporate feedback from customers and employees into your crisis response plan.

Recognizing various viewpoints demonstrates that the company values public input and provides people with a feeling of purpose during challenging times.

do well under pressure

Crisis leaders responding to a press release.

When asked what leaders must do under pressure, Sedlack said that “one of the things that we have to consider, people are usually either discretional or lack discretion because we’re geared by emotions. We’re in a difficult political situation, so we need to be more of a listener. Find people whom you can trust in crises.

What happens, though, when the pressure is too great? How can you lead your team to safety when the stakes are high, and the situation is dire?

Leaders that are adept at handling crises are frequently adaptive, allowing them to revise their plans as circumstances change. They also have a clear awareness of their priorities, allowing them to make rapid and efficient decisions.

By adapting to the evolving circumstances, leaders can also evaluate the effectiveness of their current approach and adjust accordingly to prepare for future crises.

learn how to prioritize

A list of priorities for the day.

Leaders must be able to prioritize tasks to swiftly identify the most critical initiatives that must be done to resolve the issue.

For example, suppose a team member is trying to contain a fire. In that case, the leader will most likely prioritize duties such as ensuring that everyone is evacuated and the fire is extinguished.

Once the immediate crisis has been resolved, the leader can focus on longer-term concerns, such as determining the fire’s origin and ensuring that similar accidents do not occur again.

What difference does it make?

Because a great leader considers the safety of their customers and employees above all else, ensuring that every decision they make safeguards human lives.

You need to, through action, help others. Now is the time to inspire others and create pathways for followers and have a connection to help others through,” Sedlack said. 

moving forward

While the current situation may be difficult, it’s important to remember that crisis situations don’t last forever. Once the crisis has passed, leaders can focus on rebuilding and strengthening their teams to better prepare them to handle future challenges.

Thus, every leader must be bounded optimistic or acknowledge the severity of a crisis while being encouraging. Leaders can comfort employees and customers in this way while maintaining awareness of how the event will affect their lives.

At the end of the interview, Adam Sedlack reminded the listeners to take time to learn something new. “No matter what happens, nothing will replace human interaction and a good old-fashioned conversation,” he ended.



Adam Sedlack

Website | Instagram | LinkedIn


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