Things are strange out there. I would dare say 99% of us have not lived through anything remotely as disruptive as the situation we’ve been facing for the last 18 months. Times like these tend to drag our focus as business leaders into all the ‘noise’ around us – blow by blow media updates, worry, ‘languishing’.
Leadership guru John C Maxwell states that leaders are not made in times of crisis, they are revealed. Nobody ever became a great leader overnight. Leadership is a skill that can be learned and practiced, so those who have been learning and practicing over the past several months and years are now stepping up and finding out what they’re capable of. Those who haven’t yet invested in their own leadership development are looking for strong leaders to help show them the way.
In this article, we’ll take a quick look at how leaders at ALL levels (parents, not for profit leaders, coaches, business owners, medical professionals) can step up and influence those around us for the better. Because, at its core, leadership IS influence. Bad leadership precipitates a faster fall while good leadership offers steadiness and perseverance.
Let’s look at how we need to ‘show up’ as leaders for the people who look to us. We as leaders need to define reality for those we lead. This is not the first crisis we have ever faced. The people you lead need to hear the voice of reason right now. Define reality for them and help them re-focus their anxiety on staying in positive motion. Actually, according to my Clinical Psychologist partner, the people who look to you need 3 things that YOU can provide:
- Positive ACTION
We as leaders need to put the people first. Who ‘the people’ are depends upon who you lead. Every single business has been affected by this situation and will continue to be affected by it. Good leaders will be thinking beyond the next 3 months and will be communicating regularly and calmly with their teams and their customers about how their business will look as they adjust to the changing situation. What short- term pain must you all bear now in order to come out the other side even MORE fit for purpose? Look for opportunities wherever you can!
Crises are distracting – they pull us away from the things we WANT into things like negativity and anxiety. As leaders we need to remember that even though the sky might be falling for some of those around us, the sky isn’t falling for us because we will remain focused on those things we CAN CONTROL. And that’s the second thing we need to do now – keep our focus single-mindedly on what we can control about our situation.
People around us are losing traction left and right – let’s help them regain traction by setting the
example. We know that people do what people see. Let’s show them how to behave in this situation by remaining calm, providing a sense of hope or certainty and directing ourselves and those we lead to take positive action.
Ultimately, this crisis will reveal what is inside each of us. Our choices over the years shape our character. Crises simply reveal the result of those choices. I’m showing up for you and for those I lead. What positive action can you take today that will help you stay the course?
Stay calm. Focus on what you can control. Keep moving forward.
Jennifer Myers is the owner of Gener8 Leadership Solutions and is a certified Leadership coach and trainer. You can read more about how she helps her clients and their teams HERE.