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One Crisis Management Lesson CEOs Can Learn from U.S. Capitol Riot

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

January 7, 2021

It was the pervasive dismissal of President Trump’s behavior, his consistently hostile language, and the psychological state of both President Trump and his most loyal followers that set the stage for the U.S. Capitol riot. Many leaders did not take seriously Trump’s power to emotionally manipulate large masses of individuals who were already feeling threatened and severely angry.

Psychological Profile of Rioters

The rioters, as a group, had personalities that were highly defiant, highly suggestible, with high levels of entitlement, and lower levels of self-esteem.

Leaders did not consider the behavioral impact that resentment, group-think, and contagion could have on the inflamed emotions of persons planning to attend the rally. Logically-thinking leaders believed that extreme Trump followers could be logical and would act accordingly; and failed to view them as a threat.

How Leaders Can Avoid Similar Crises

To avoid similar crises, CEOs and other leaders should view as a threat – and take preventive measures for – any leader or employee who shows ability to repeatedly incite frustration, unrest, unquestionable loyalty, or other group behaviors that produce widespread agitation and emotional reaction.

Photo Credit: John Minchillo, AP

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