GREAT LEADERSHIP FOR TOUGH TIMES

Talk about tough times. Man. This is craziness, right? Never has the need for great leadership been more clear.

I mean, what in the great wide world is going on? (And yes, I realize that answers may vary depending on your cable news network of choice; and no, I don’t really care which one you watch. I love you just the same.)

THIS AIN’T OUR FIRST RODEO

There have been viruses before, sure. And there have certainly been pandemics before. Heck, in the past, there were plagues that wiped out vast portions of the planet’s population. I’m looking at you, Bubonic Plague, in both your Justinian and Black Death iterations (estimated 25-50 million and then 75-200 million deaths, respectively).

There’s no such thing as pandemic-proof leadership (but hey, there’s a catchy blog post title, no?), and none of us is immune to the worry, stress, and uncertainty that times like these bring.

But know this, my friends. We can, and will get through this. Together.

That’s what we do.

Know this, my friends. We can, and will get through this. Together. That's what we do. #leadership #motivation #coronavirus #inspiration Click To Tweet

leadership in tough times


LEADERS, ANSWER THE CALL

As leaders, there are things we can and must do to demonstrate the sort of leadership that situations like this call for.

One of the most fundamental of those things that’s incumbent upon us right now, even if you’ve never found yourself able to do it before, is to summon the courage to be…

Human.

I know, you were probably hoping for something a bit more — I don’t know — profound, perhaps.

But people don’t need profundity right now so much as they need to simple, albeit sometimes hard, things to happen.

Things like people helping people. At scale.

People serving people. At scale.

What the world needs right now is people serving people. At scale. #leadership #motivation #servantleadership Click To Tweet

leadership in tough times

What do I mean and why do I say that? What does it look like to demonstrate great leadership — human leadership — during tough times? I’m so glad you asked.

HUMANNESS IN LEADERSHIP

Leaders who are human are those who embrace their humanness.

They don’t put on a front, act like they have it all together, refuse the help of others, and spend a bunch of time posturing.

They’re human and vulnerable. They’re open about their flaws, insecurities, mistakes, and yes, even their fears at times.

Now — when people are going through a difficult situation — would be one of those times.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

It seems like everyone is looking around trying to figure out how to respond to this situation.

But here’s the thing. Whether it’s the current coronavirus scenario or another (hopefully far less serious) crisis or change down the road, people are looking for solid leadership during what are clearly tough times.

They want to see how leaders react, respond, and whether they show resolve.

Poseurs need not apply.

Bravado does nothing for us, and people know it.

Bravado isn't bravery, and people know it. #leadership #behuman Click To Tweet

Panic doesn’t help either.

Neither still does acting like nothing at all is going on. A response like that reeks of a lack of empathy.

HOW TO SHOW GREAT LEADERSHIP IN TOUGH TIMES

So what’s a leader to do?

Again, I’m so glad you asked. We’ll get through this together. I’m certain of it.

#1: SHOW LEADERSHIP IN TOUGH TIMES BY EMBRACING YOUR HUMANNESS

Whether we’re talking about teams or human beings, during times of uncertainty or crisis, people look to their leaders to be both empathetic and steady (more on this later).

It’s important to understand that when I say “provide a steady hand” as a leader, that’s not to say “fake it” and act like nothing’s wrong. That will seem insincere and/or out of touch.

No, you need to be a human being. If you can relate to what’s going on, then relate. Be honest.

#2: PROVIDE A STEADY HAND AMIDST THE UNCERTAINTY

One of the last things people need when the chips are down is a leader who’s up there flailing around, foaming at the mouth, ranting about every random thing.

No, people need a steady hand.

People need leaders with resolve.

People need leaders whose eyes are set on a fixed point in the distance.

#3: SHOW LEADERSHIP BY BEING PATIENT THROUGH TOUGH TIMES

Take a long view of tough situations.

I say this because it will help you avoid so much of the emotional rollercoaster that you otherwise might be prone to. If you allow yourself to be tossed to and fro with every single thing that happens, you’re going to end up being such a wreck that you’ll be basically useless to those around you.

Not only that, but you’ll also be perpetually on edge. Forget about being patient with either the situation or with the people around you.

#4: DO YOUR RESEARCH

Many of us have seen that not being well-informed — or worse, getting our information from others who are ill-informed or who are intentionally warping the narrative — can and does have big consequences.

As leaders, we need to have a good handle on the facts. That doesn’t happen unless we put in the work beforehand.

#5: SHOW LEADERSHIP IN TOUGH TIMES BY BEING OTHERS-ORIENTED

be others-oriented

During a time when our social media feeds are filled with pictures of people hoarding household goods, be a beacon of something different.

Find ways to focus on others. Serve your teams, friends, families, and communities.

Show great leadership in tough times by being others-oriented. #leadership #servantleadership #motivation Click To Tweet

#6: BE AN ENCOURAGEMENT TO OTHERS 

Your workplace, your teammates, your family, and your world all have enough negativity to go around.

Add encouragement.

But don’t add the sappy, nonsensical kind of encouragement that people will see as vapid and meaningless during truly trying times. Be honest, human, and real with folks; and walk alongside people as they deal with difficult situations.

Be honest, human, and real with folks; and walk alongside people as they deal with difficult situations. #leadership #behuman Click To Tweet

leadership in tough times


#7: SHOW GREAT LEADERSHIP IN TOUGH TIMES BY DEMONSTRATING PERSEVERANCE AND RESOLVE

Many of the above will lead you here, and that’s a good thing, because people want to see this from their leaders. Frankly, a lot of people need to see this from their leaders. They need to see it because when they do, it gives them hope.

As you’ve no doubt heard said, leaders are dealers in hope.

So in the face of incredibly difficult times, demonstrating both humanness and resolve is critically important.

You see, folks are having a rough go right now. For a variety of reasons, a lot of people are despairing, and understandably so.

What they need to see from us is humanness and resolve.

They need to see perseverance and a steely determination to continue to meet challenges head on without faltering, without flailing, and without failing to keep the faith.

They need to see a certain amount of mettle. Moxie. Grit.

Because what folks see, they often begin to mirror over time.

LET’S GO.

Let’s be a force for good, for optimism, for faith and hope in a world full of folks who feel like the walls are closing in.

WHAT WOULD YOU ADD? WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Tell us in the comments below (1) what you’d add to the list, and (2) how you’re stepping up (or planning to) to lead in your home, you workplace, or your community. Let’s encourage each other.

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