Leaders, today, we need to lead…
We’ve spent more time in the last month than ever video-conferencing with our clients. Zoom, Hangouts, Skype, GoToMeeting… Pick your favorite, and we’ve used it. The conversations have been motivating, uplifting, and sometimes raw. We all have a lot going on right on. The most interesting part of these chats was this one common thread: As leaders, today, more than ever, we need to lead.
Before we dig in any deeper, we want to start with this: we are ALL leaders. Leadership is not and has never been tied to a title. If you’re reading this today, you lead somewhere in your life. Leadership is for all of us.
So, with that in mind, here are ten examples of what leadership for today looks like…
Empathetic – With everything everyone is feeling right now, empathy has to come first. Every one of us is dealing with different emotions right now. We’re navigating the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. As leaders, it’s our responsibility to meet our teams, partners, and clients where they’re at. We need to be compassionate, validate what people are feeling, and be there for each one of them.
Honest – Today, more than ever, people need to believe what we’re telling them. No one wants to walk away from a conversation with us wondering if they can trust what we said. They’re craving transparency and sincere answers, even if sometimes those answers are challenging or end in, “I don’t know.”
Authentic – Tied closely to honesty is authenticity. Today is a time where being genuine and transparent as a leader is magnetic. As leaders, we are no less human than anyone else, and it’s OK to expose that from time to time. In those moments where you’re checking in with your teams and asking them how they’re doing, it’s OK to let them know how you’re doing as well.
Positive – Negativity is contagious, and so is optimism. As leaders, today is our time to step up and be the voice of hope and goodness. Our people and customers are being inundated every day with dark noise. Now is our time to grab a megaphone and bring some positivity back to the circles we have influence over. Don’t miss that last part. You, as a leader, are an influencer. Don’t misuse that power.
Communicate – Silence sucks, and it is scary. As a leader, communicating is critical. It impacts so many areas. Our teams need to continue feeling connected. They deserve an understanding of where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there. Our clients crave that connection as well and need to know how we’re going to serve them. We need to lead in this area by example, modeling what excellent communication looks like.
We Not Me – Right now, our teams and clients need to know that we’re all in this together. When things get scary, it can be easy to shift into an “every man (or woman) for themself” mentality. Leaders don’t go there. Instead, they embrace the reality that we all win together, and they focus on “we” solutions.
Vision – As a leader today, everyone is looking to you for the vision. With all the pivots and sidetracks many of us have been facing, this can feel challenging. Taking a future-focus right now, and being the voice of what tomorrow looks like for your organization, is vital. Our encouragement to you is simple. Include your teams and clients in those conversations about the future. Carrying the vision doesn’t all land on your shoulders, but it is your job to create space for being aspirational and thinking about tomorrow.
Creative – What got you here won’t get you there. That saying couldn’t be more accurate right now, and each of us must lead our people in finding creative ways to adapt and change. Again, we don’t need to have all the creative, new ideas. We’re simply in charge of creating an environment that is welcoming of those new ideas, and open to seeing things through a new lens.
Empowering – The reason we have teams to lead is that we can’t do this all on our own. Delegation may be one of the most valuable superpowers we have at this time. As our capacity and responsibilities change, there’s no time like the present to empower our people to stretch themselves.
Purpose-Driven – This is last on our list, but only because it is most important, and we want it to stick with you. Your purpose, personally and as an organization, has never been more relevant. When things get challenging, reminding ourselves why we exist and what gets us out of bed in the morning is foundational to everything else. Without purpose, we float aimlessly. Now is not a time for floating. It is a time for focused, concentrated movement in a direction that aligns with our why. Today, purpose is everything.
Leaders, this is your time to shine. Now, go lead.
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