Business leaders are needed, not so much when everything is going according to plan but, rather, when something unexpected happens – in moments with the most uncertainty.

The way management handles a crisis can have a powerful influence and prominent effect not only on the outcome of the situation, but on the feelings and perceptions of workers – both about the company's leaders and the organization as a whole.

Whether it is an angry client, a data breach, a PR disaster or another dilemma posing an issue for your organization, being the person everyone turns to for guidance on how to handle issues can be stressful. But knowing how to appropriately handle a crisis ahead of time can potentially help you handle it with optimal levels of ease, grace and efficiency.

Below are some suggestions for how to handle a crisis like true leader. 

Be honest
There is no point in trying to hide from your staff that something is going on – especially if there is a chance they might have an idea something is up. Keeping them in the loop demonstrates that you trust them. Plus, when it comes down to it, there are very few circumstances where being upfront about a problem will backfire.

"Keeping your employees in the loop demonstrates trust."

As Pandora CEO Anthony Bay explained to Fast Company, when his organization was going through a particularly rough patch, he viewed communication as a way to ensure that his staff would stay invested and committed to the business. His aim, he said, was to "not distract people," adding that, "You want to continue to be honest and authentic, you don't want to tell untruths."

You may think it is your job to protect your employees and not cause any unnecessary worry. And while this is partly true, it shouldn't be assumed that you are doing them a favor by withholding information. In fact, you may actually be doing them a disservice because it can actually make them feel more alienated, anxious and skeptical than they would be if you were honest. Depending on the specifics of the situation, you probably don't need to delve into all the logistics and details. But offering enough to make it clear you want to keep them informed and aware shows true leadership ability.

Admit your mistakes
If something isn't working out and you might be the source of blame, don't try to cover it up or sweep it under the rug. You also shouldn't play the victim and try to point fingers at others. Face it head on, come up with a solution and move on as quickly as possible. You have a lot of personal power to leverage in a crisis; it wouldn't benefit anyone to let pride get in the way of progress.

Be clear
If you do open the lines of communication during a crisis, you want to make sure that you so do ready to address any and all fears and concerns that may be expressed. You certainly don't have to have all the answers, or be able to detail a thorough plan for action. Even if you haven't ironed out every aspect of it yet or are still riddled with uncertainty as to how to handle the situation, that's OK. It might even make you more personable and relatable to admit this. Furthermore, insisting on honesty can help you create better solutions because if your workers are aware of what's going on, they may be able to provide useful information or insight.

Keep your employees informed throughout the crisis rather than riddled with questions.Keep your employees informed throughout the crisis rather than riddled with questions.

Show compassion
Put yourself in the shoes of your staff. It is easy to assume you know what is best for the organization – and it is very likely that you do. But your employees don't know everything that you do about the situation – unless you tell them. If you're unsure about whether or not you want to include everyone in dealing and resolving the issue, it may help to consider what most concerns your workers. Demonstrating compassion makes you a better leader – but it also makes you better equipped to handle a crisis appropriately.

Be confident
Arguably more important than giving your employees answers is maintaining a healthy level of confidence throughout the crisis. Assure your staff that you are – and will continue – to do everything in your power to handle the situation, keeping in mind what is best for both the organization and individual workers.

"During a crisis, remain confident in the resiliency of your business and your employees will too."

Everyone knows one of the worst things you can do during a crisis is panic. And while the situation is (probably) not life-threatening, one of your responsibilities is to maintain order and keep everyone calm. Your  team takes clues on how to behave from you. If they see that you are confident in the resiliency of the business, they will likely be too. But how can you portray confidence when you actually aren't? The Harvard Business Review suggested taking it incrementally and approaching it, not as an issue, but as an opportunity to try something different and challenge yourself.

When an unexpected occurrence happens that threatens the comfort, safety, revenue or reputation of your company, keep in mind that the business was not built overnight. So it won't collapse that quickly, either. It's these trying moments and challenges that ultimately strengthen leaders and their organizations.