Steady Leadership in Difficult Times

Key takeaways:

  • Unprecedented times call for vulnerable yet stable leadership.
  • Let go of the helpless feelings by focusing on what you CAN do.
  • Connect with you teams, family and friends on an all-new, deeper level.

Being a leader of anything means that people will look to you for how to behave, respond and navigate.  Are you a leader now, or do aspire to be one? For the most part, you can count on the leaders who came before you to show the way or share their experiences. There are few situations that you will encounter that some other leader has not been through before you.  

Well, we are in one of those few situations now. Although some leaders have been through public health emergencies before, there has not been anything quite like COVID 19. In addition to that pandemic, there are serious social and community issues surrounding racism and injustice that must be discussed. You may be hearing from leaders that they are trying to figure things out, just as you are. 

They don’t always know what to do or say. You may be a leader yourself and feel ill-equipped or uneasy about how to lead right now. The phrase “We are all in this together” may sound a bit cliché at this moment, but it’s never been more true.  

If you’re looking for some guidance on how to lead your team, your family or even your community, you are not alone. Let’s continue to learn from each other. Here are some points to get you started.

1 – Frequently check in on people’s well-being.  

The current environment is difficult, even for your strongest team members and friends. Remember that everyone is an individual and will be in a different point in their emotional journey. Some will just want you to listen.  Some will want to have a deep discussion. Some may not want to talk at all. Know where your team members stand and what they need from you.

2 – Share your own vulnerability and concerns.  

Just because you are a leader doesn’t mean you don’t have your own concerns or have to hide them. Transparency as a leader is important. It helps build trust through authenticity. While you still want to ensure you remain as positive as you can, you can still do that while being real.

3 – Be confident and provide stability.  

Now is the time to lean on your values — but also to keep an open mind.  Your team, family and friends want to feel safe. That safety will enable them to function and be their best selves. As a leader, think about the things you can control and influence for your team to help them cope.

4 – Focus on what you CAN do.  

It is easy to feel helpless in times like this. When you lay everything out in front of you, it can be overwhelming. Take inventory of what you have going on in your life and at work, and determine which things you can control or influence. Then share this with you team, family, and friends. It will be remarkably uplifting to come away with a list of things you can do to make things better. Lead the way with this for your team.

These are difficult, unprecedented times for everyone.  It’s hard to know the right things to say or do, but silence or not doing anything is not an option.  Especially as a leader.  Some of the more conventional leadership techniques and advice are flying out the window right now.  It’s time to think differently and to really connect with your team, and people in general. This is a chance for you to pave new ground, where we really need to build a new leadership road. 

All the while remembering that “we are all in this together.”

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June 9, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Well said, Matt! This article was very positive and uplifting. As leaders we don’t always know the right or wrong thing to say, but we can be present and supportive in both our professional and personal lives.

June 10, 2020 at 10:16 am
Sally Schneider

Thank you for sharing.


Here at Lead Read Today, we endeavor to take an objective (rational, scientific) approach to analyzing leaders and leadership. All opinion pieces will be reviewed for appropriateness, and the opinions shared are solely of the author and not representative of The Ohio State University or any of its affiliates.