When crisis hits, it is critical to have alignment around key priorities that can be used to guide decision making, and to communicate these priorities clearly, widely and often.
Once that is done, the real work begins. How to meet priorities can often become a point of friction under the best of circumstances. Throw in a time of crisis and it can truly feel overwhelming. Take heart and be certain…there will always be times of uncertainty. Whether dealing with changes to technology, process, economic pressures, resource gaps, political discord, catastrophic weather events, global pandemics, or any combination of unsavory hardships be encouraged. While this may sound strange to you, there is a method to the madness.
Here is what you need to know. YOU are and can be the right leader for this moment. Anything worthwhile is uphill…meaning it comes through challenge, friction, resistance and quite frankly a lot of hard work. Do not be detoured by this; let it fuel you. YOU are uniquely qualified for this moment…that is why you are here. This is an uphill battle, but you are not alone on this journey. Success will not come overnight. If it did the endeavor was not that worthwhile to begin with. No, true success will only come with the unrelenting pursuit of forward progress.
One step at a time, one day at a time break through moments are right ahead. Commit to do the work and carry the load. It won’t be easy but you do hard things and you find ways to do them better than anyone else continually. Make this your super-power!
Where to start? It begins with you. In this moment focus on three things to position yourself and those you lead for success.
1.) Reachhigh – Don’t put limits on yourself or your team. Instead, be encouraged to transform. Like The Little Engine That Could chants over and over, “I think I can, I think I can”, listen to that inner voice and know you can. The vision you have for ultimate achievement for yourself and your team…the one you are afraid to even dare dream? Yes, that’s the one now is the moment to reach for it! Opportunity is born in times of adversity for those with the courage to stretch, grow and reach beyond current circumstances. Make the decision, now is your time to reach high.
2). Reach long– Simon Sinek talks about an Infinite Mindset. This isn’t striving for peaks only to be followed by valleys, rinse and repeat. In fact, it’s not a single destination at all which will define success. Instead it is knowing you and your team are meant for far greater things perpetually and to have this perpetual mindset.
In this moment, focus less on numbers and more on the behaviors that drive these numbers and do this with consistency. What am I saying? Great empathy statements drive CSAT, asking for the sale drives conversion, reading disclosures ensures compliance and reduces cancels, role playing these behaviors with your team correctly builds confidence and competence. The list goes on and on.
Focus on building skills that link to what you need to accomplish. There is no limit to what you can achieve, the secret is in the effort and the journey…keep going, keep building and keep reaching long.
3). Reach back– One of the most important things we are called to do is to care for those we have the privilege and responsibility to lead. Be the one to lift others up. Every person has an important story. Every person goes through things in their lives that will shape who they are, how they see things, and how they respond to different events.
Know your team and be intentional about building your connection in a meaningful way to meet them where they are. This heart/mind leadership is one of the most important life skills you must develop as a leader. Nobody cares how much you know…until they know how much you care. As servant leaders we can serve without leading, but we cannot lead well without serving. To do this we must extend a hand to support, to equip, to guide, to teach, to prepare, to correct, to inspire, and to lift.
Whether it is in person or virtually is not what is important in this moment. The significance is in the action. You can be creative and mix up the tools you use. Virtual meetings like those on TEAMS are great ways to meet individuals as well as groups around the globe and build connection personally and professionally. We live in a virtual world and building community by leveraging technology is easier now than ever before. There are many platforms to choose from. Phone, video chat, email and text can also be a part of your connection strategy. Be clear, be transparent, and most importantly be there to care for your team…reach back.
There is a greater purpose to why you are here, and who you are called to be. This moment is not easy; it will not be easy. You do hard things. This is why you are the right leader for this moment, and your best days are right ahead.
Reach high, reach long, reach back to lift others and be encouraged!