Managing Errors and Crises

Leadership under Pressure

Leading effectively in unexpected and dynamic situations

In management we tend to focus on success stories. But based on what we read and hear each day, it may be more interesting to learn how strong organizations become involved in disasters or bankruptcies, despite having managers with solid professional backgrounds. As we all know, mistakes are unavoidable, especially under high pressure. Yet, in most organizations, it is rare for them to be thoroughly examined. An exception is the high-risk aviation industry, which focuses on preparing its members to solve lifethreatening situations.

Leadership under Pressure (LUP) draws on this experience to illustrate ways of proactively managing pressure, errors, and crises in complex organizations. It shows how a diagnostic concept is the first step toward a modern working environment in which critical situations serve as learning opportunities.

The program presents the best of ESMT thought leadership on error management.

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Target audience

Target audience

All professionals, who have to deal with complex leadership situations, either because of the daily risks to a company’s production lines or the need to change organizational
behavior when dealing with pressure, crises, and mistakes.

The program is limited to twenty participants.

Key topics

Key topics

  • Avoiding the blame game
  • Maintaining control in dynamic and fluid situations
  • Assessing different crisis stages
  • Managing communication
  • Driving decision-making processes in dynamic and highworkload situations
  • Leading teams during crises
  • Understanding the prerequisites for error management
  • Overcoming potential obstacles
  • Exercises in real flight simulators of Lufthansa Flight Training
Take-home value

Take-home value

Individual key benefits

The program will help managers to stay on top of volatile situations and introduce support strategies for mastering the dynamics of these situations. It will provide conceptual frameworks for leading high-pressure situations that can disrupt organizational flows, processes, and employee interactions. The various mindsets and behaviors involved in making mistakes will be identified, whether they are made by individuals, a division,
or an organization.

Organizational benefits

All ESMT programs are practice-oriented. This means that participants profit from the current state of research being applied in business today, research that can be implemented once participants return to their organizations. Furthermore, the programs provide both the participants and their organizations with fresh perspectives and a solid network of global contacts. In addition, each program is an opportunity to promote and retain valuable personnel.

Meet the faculty

Meet the faculty

Jan U. Hagen (Program director)

Associate Professor, Member of Faculty, and Head of the Practice Group Financial Services, ESMT

Jan Hagen is a member of the faculty at ESMT since 2006. He studied business administration at the Freie Universität Berlin. His doctoral dissertation was on the US bank failures, and he was a scholar of the German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes).

Jan’s research and teaching focus is on leadership. He is particularly interested in understanding how teams and organizations deal with errors. He is currently studying the interaction of flight crews in the cockpits of airline and military aircrafts.

Jan teaches in the ESMT Open Enrollment program Crisis Management as well as in the customized executive education programs. In addition to his academic work, he has more than 15 years of management experience in the European financial service industry.

Gregor Halff

Prof. Gregor Halff is a visiting faculty member at ESMT and a professor of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at the Singapore Management University.

His research and teaching focus is on globalization and corporate communication.

Gregor received his PhD in communication sciences from the Westfälische Wilhems-Universität in 1997. He is currently chair elect of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.

Stephan Wrede

Captain Flight Standardization German Air Force


"This was an outstanding program. I have never seen a program with such a diverse and appropriate mix of methods. It provided deep insights into key aspects of leadership in crisis situation."
Stefanie Lawson, Human Resources Global Business Partner, Deutsche Bank

More information on error management

Error management: Not just a wing and a prayer

Not just a wing and a prayer

Article on error management on ESMT Knowledge

Video: Learning to embrace errors

Learning to embrace errors

"In order to learn from mistakes, we must first admit that humans will always make them."

Error Management - Conference

Error Management Conference

ESMT hosts conference on error management

Book: Confronting Mistakes

Book: Confronting Mistakes

Lessons from the Aviation Industry when Dealing with Error

The limits of leading others

The limits of leading others

Article on the case study Czar 52 – The limits of CRM.

ESMT Knowledge II

Error and Crisis Management

More about the topic on ESMT Knowledge