1st Edition

When Leaders Face Personal Crisis The Human Side of Leadership

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    200 Pages
    by Routledge

    Winner of a 2020 Nautilus Silver Award!


    This book examines a relatively unexplored area of leadership research – personal aspects of leadership – by considering the impact of leaders navigating their own personal crises on their relationships with teams, peers, and supervisors. Through original research as well as an integrative review of the literature, Hickman and Knouse focus on the "leader-as-person in crisis," including the real-life personal crises and experiences of leaders. This important volume offers a detailed and thoughtful description of intersecting factors that contribute to the ways in which leaders experience and cope with personal crises to spur additional research attention to this neglected area. This book also offers current and prospective leaders advice and direction on effectively navigating personal crises.


    1. Personal crisis as a stressful life event
    2. Coping with crisis
    3. Deciding to disclose, asking for help
    4. The organization’s interpersonal environment
    5. Responsibility for leadership: adaptive approaches
    6. Toward a culture of reciprocal care: advice and recommendations
    7. Leaders in personal crisis: proposals for practice and research

    Appendix A: Preliminary Study Methods

    Appendix B: Study 1 Methods and Participant Description

    Appendix C: Study 2 Methods, Participant Description, and Supplementary Tables



    Gill Robinson Hickman is Professor of Leadership Studies Emerita in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.

    Laura E. Knouse is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Richmond and a licensed clinical psychologist.


    "Fills a gap in the leadership literature for both scholars and for leaders. Well-documented with practical and realistic advice –  not a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all appraoch."
    - Barry Z. Posner, Professor, Leavy School of Business, Santa Clara University

    “In life you either learn from situations you experience personally or from those others have experienced. This book allowed me to better understand how I was able to cope with the loss of my wife and continue to prosper in my professional life. It’s an excellent guide to coping.” —Ray M. Robinson, Chairman, Citizens Trust Bank

    “Finally, there is a serious treatment of how leaders and organizations should respond during unfortunate but inevitable circumstances in the personal lives of those we entrust with responsibility. Hickman and Knouse’s work is a sensitive, careful, and original study of a neglected but important topic in leadership studies.”
    —Kenneth P. Ruscio, Senior Distinguished Lecturer, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond and President Emeritus, Washington and Lee University