Leadership During Times of Crisis
The theme of Episode 11 will be leadership during times of crisis. Crises birthed the leadership of the great ones I studied. As they stepped up to serve their generation selflessly during tough times, their leadership birthed. Because they ventured to lead during times of distress, their lives transformed from underdog to great!
If you’re a leader, know that your leadership won’t ever reach its climax without the test of crisis. The latter tests leaders like fire tests precious stones. The great leaders we all quote and look up to today were all earned our respect and adulation because they passed the test of time. They led during times of distress. They led their people triumphantly through the storm and fire and landed them on the other side safely. What is more? Not only they grew their people and institutions to outgrow the crisis, but they also transformed their people to the point where things were better than where they had been before the advent of the crisis.
Let’s talk about you. You may be an underdog and thinking right now that what I’m talking about here doesn’t apply to you. Stop that thinking for a moment and listen to me. What kind of leader do you want to be during and after this crisis? A chicken or an eagle leader? How do you want to be remembered in history, especially if history placed on your hand the destiny of people?
Think hard and forget the roar of this crisis and other irrelevant noises around you for a while. Have you thought about this? You could end up, once the show is over, you were a disappointing leader who fed its people and lost what had been built for years to a monster like this pandemic!
Let me challenge you. Are you sure that when you ask your people “Are you better than where I found you?”, would they say YES? If you’re not sure, you still have a chance to change the answer to that question. The scenario could be different: They may look back and say “Not only we have come a long way because of your leadership but also developed resilience and emerged better than where we were before the start of all of this. We want you to continue LEADING us into the future!”
Don’t undermine yourself. The great ones who stepped up to serve during the highest needs of their people and in the process transformed their lives from underdog to great were just like you. You have what it takes in you to wither away this crisis and enable your people not only to survive but also to end up being in a better place once this all is over.
I’m here to give you the right perspectives you need during times of distress and equip you to develop the right mindset, leadership attributes, and character that enable you to serve with leadership excellence.
Stay tuned! It will be recorded and released this weekend. If you’ve not yet, subscribe to the channel to get a notification. In the meantime, watch Episode 10:
Emotional Fitness in Crisis
One of the most important competencies we all need to survive, outlast & even thrive during a crisis is our emotional fitness. If you have invested in your emotional fitness ahead of the curve, you’ve now the emotional resilience and the ability to withstand the direct and indirect stress this pandemic unleashed against all of us.
This is especially high time to have emotionally fit healthcare professionals, law enforcement personnel, and leaders who are making tough calls. If they haven’t developed this competency already or not willing to do so now, we’re in big trouble as a society! The general public may panic, afraid, stressed & emotionally unbalanced, it is expected in such tough times.
The frustrating thing is that these professionals and leaders have been already overstretched and we taxed them heavily before even the advent of COVID19. Now, on top of what was going on against them in terms of workload, they have to deal with many of us who are under distress! History now put on their shoulder a responsibility to serve their respective society and lead them to survive and outlast this monster.
The point is, more than ever, we need EMOTIONALLY FIT Healthcare and Law Enforcement professionals and Leaders. As a learning professional who has been empowering leaders to develop emotional resilience, I had been passionate whenever I facilitated workshops and webinars on the theme of Emotional Intelligence. Now, I’m supercharged to play my little share as we empower our clients to develop their emotional resilience during this crisis.
In January, when I was in Canada, I recorded a few minutes video clip on my cell phone about Emotional Fitness. Watch it and let me know your thoughts and how your emotional fitness has been helping you overcome stress, challenges, and crisis:
How to View Crisis
Have you experienced crises before? I’m sure you did as far as you live on this planet. What did you feel when you face a crisis? How did you view the crisis at the height of the moment? How did you react?
I relate to you. Crises- some lightweight and others heavyweight, came upon me many times. I didn’t like them. Who does? They are uninvited intruders.
Of course, the way we view and respond to each crisis varies. I used to resent any form of crisis. They created discomfort and messed up with my plan. I still remember the countless hours I spent complaining about why this, why now, and why me 🙂
However, my perspective about crisis changed when I learned that the great ones I studied actually befriended with crises. Rather than fussing about crises, they welcomed them as opportunities. A crisis that came to wipe them out, ended up being a victim itself. They used the crisis to challenge themselves. They also showed the world what they were made of by turning the crisis into opportunity.
What is a crisis? Simply, a crisis is an extreme form of unplanned change. Changes can be divided into two major categories: Planned and unplanned changes.
We all plan for some changes, especially during the beginning of a new year. We may plan to change our lifestyle, job, relationships, etc. Such changes happen with your full knowledge and you have planned for them. You decided when and how to lead these changes. However, there are changes you never planned and anticipated but you had to deal with them.
The pandemic is a crisis with a global scope. We didn’t plan for it. We have no control over how the virus transmits and which regions, persons, and age groups it should and it shouldn’t infect. We are helpless, at least right now.
Powerful countries that have well-developed security apparatuses were blindsided. They didn’t see it coming. They were stunned. Sadly, some leaders of powerful nations have become victims of the virus. This crisis hit even the most fortified palaces. The most advanced healthcare systems are broken and disarmed.
What differentiates crisis from other unplanned changes? What are the features of a crisis? Below are just the most common features of crises:
- Sudden. They are sudden. We find ourselves suddenly impacted.
- Uncontrolled. Crises are uncontrollable at many levels. We don’t initiative them but we cannot escape their direct and/or indirect impacts. We experience them or their impacts but we cannot control them. If we had control, we would have stopped this pandemic weeks ago. We don’t have a meaningful say and control in the way the crisis goes and ends.
- Helpless and victims. Crisis makes us feel we are helpless and victims.
Regardless of these natures of a crisis, I don’t want you to feel like you are helpless and a victim of this pandemic. It is saddening many people have died. Many people are now sick and struggling to beat this invisible enemy.
Those of us who are alive and healthy, we should be thankful. We should pray and serve others as a way to show our gratitude. We should also support the men and women at the front line taking care of the victims of this brutal disease.
That being said, even if you don’t have control and may not have a meaningful say about what is happening in the world around you. But, you can control how you view it, and most importantly, how to respond to it. You can become fearful, hide, worry, complain, and spend countless hours contemplating the worst things that could happen on you and your loved ones.
Or, you step up and stand up to face this threat against humanity, and do something about it. It is already here. Without our permission, it’s ravaging people and economies. We can complain and at the end of the day lose to it or face it head-on and in the end, beat it and benefit from the experience what so ever bad experiences we have had so far and will have.
What I’m saying is that why don’t we view it as an opportunity? Why don’t we learn the weaknesses that made us vulnerable to this pandemic, come up with strategies, approaches, products, and services, not only to beat it now but also become even stronger to defeat any future pandemic? We have a choice of how to view and respond to this crisis.
In Episode 10, I talked about how we should view the current crisis as an opportunity. Yes, we didn’t cause it. We don’t have 100% control to dictate how it ends. It has come to threaten all of us and our well being. Yes indeed, it has come to put some of you out of business. Right, it may cause some of us to be ‘dethroned’. However, we can decide to view it as an opportunity, a steppingstone. We can step up in the face of this crisis to serve in the area of our passion to give our best.
For sure, a crisis comes on all of us. It doesn’t discriminate based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, or social status. It is a great equalizer. Unfortunately, only a few will come out the other side winners.
Believe me. Crises like this turn many underdogs into greats. Besides. when the dust settles, we will welcome many heroes and heroines. Don’t also forget that some will end up rich by responding to this crisis and becoming solutions. The question is: Would you like to be one of these by stepping up and bringing your best to serve your community?
These individuals view a crisis like eagles view storms. All birds hide in the face of a storm. That is not so with eagles. They rather use the opportunity to fly high effortlessly.
When a hurricane hits a region, there are trees that stand tall regardless of the damage their counterpart trees sustain. These last-standing trees are built to last a crisis like a hurricane.
What about you? Are you tapping into your reservoir and creativity to take your profession and business to the next level by coming up with practical products and/or services to fight the direct and indirect effects of this pandemic? Have you been working on your resilience so well that you cannot wait to test and demonstrate your ability to outlast and beat this crisis?
You have a choice of how you view this crisis.
I know, I’ll be criticized for saying this. We must be thankful to Crises like the current pandemic. Humanity wouldn’t have been where we are TODAY without crises keeping us on our toes. They challenge us to keep moving forward to unleash our greatness. We have untapped potential. The glorious days of humanity are ahead of us!
I encourage you to watch Episode 10- How to View Crisis. Once you watched it, let me know your thoughts. What do you like about this episode? Any lesson or insight you gained? If you have any question, let me know.
The follow-up 2 episodes will cover ‘What Kind of Leaders Do We Need During Crisis’, and ‘What MUST We should do During Crisis’? Don’t hesitate to send me if you have any questions that you would like me to answer in the upcoming episodes.
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By the way, I also released an online course ‘Overcoming First-Timer Syndrome’ for Team Leads, Project Managers, Supervisors, and Business Owners. The course has 11 modules. Each module has 30 – 45 minutes of video teaching and a worksheet that summarizes the main discussion points, learning objectives plus lots of assignments. There are also some downloadable samples and templates. To learn more about the course, check out this page: https://www.successpws.com/first-timer
We all can’t play Andrew Cuomo or Anthony Fauci
A Facebook friend of mine forwarded to me a comment he got from one of his followers on social media. To give you a little background, this friend of mine is one of the dedicated journalists in Ethiopia. From my reading of the comment he forwarded, I presumed that the person who commented seemed unhappy that this journalist leader didn’t go beyond informing/telling people about the virus. In the comment, the person asked a couple of questions that touted him to go beyond talk and suggest some solutions and tips to office and business leaders.
Below is my response:
“… your friend asked a good question. I don’t have the full context but I’m assuming that he/she wrote this in response to what you are saying (advising others). Your friend might have felt that you’re just talking without action and offering some solutions.
You’re a media professional, most of your leadership responsibilities lay in informing/telling people by providing accurate and empowering information to increase their awareness. You’re not supposed to think and be creative for other leaders in other industries. They suppose to come up with some creative and innovative solutions and take actions depending on their respective field. You’re not expected, for instance, to go out and give some practical advice on healthcare. You cannot think and propose an innovative idea on how to design medical equipment and take action to bring it to market. That is insane and flawed THINKING!!!
Think about the Mayor of New York- Andrew Cuomo. He leads a state which is an epicenter of COVID19 in the US. He is viewed as a hero politician right now. Why? not because he goes out and acts the hero character in trying to treat sick people or come up with innovative solutions. His job is taking leadership in implementing federal and state legislations, soliciting resources from the federal government, creating a conducive atmosphere for medical professionals, law enforcement personnel, and businesses to fight and win this threat. And, he is doing a hell of a job as a political leader!
Just for comparison, Andrew’s leadership role is totally different than NIH’s Director of Infectious Diseases and Allergies- Anthony Fauci. The Mayor isn’t expected to advise New Yorkers medically as Fauci does. He isn’t expected to come up with any medical or business solutions and take action accordingly. There are many small and large businesses right now in the US working 24 hours per day to respond to this challenge and believe me, some will come out of this heroes/heroines and in the process billionaires and millionaires.
The point is that in our society, we don’t specialize. Everybody wants to be a hero or heroine everywhere and as a result, achieves nothing significant, and in turn, benefits our society nothing. Sorry to say that!
Let the media leaders do their job in increasing awareness. Let politicians come up with legislations and relief packages to support health workers and victims of this terrible disease. Let the priests and pastors pray and give sound (not reckless) spiritual counseling. Let the business community lose sleep to innovate and create some local inventions to step up and be solutions to their respective community. The argument continues…
This is my two cents. I hope this helps you give an adequate answer to your friend. Let me know if you may have any additional leadership-related questions 🙂 My job doesn’t require me to advise about everything 🙂 My ‘little’ responsibility is to inspire and encourage leaders like yourself and others in other fields to step up, be courageous to think unconventionally, to become creative to answer the DEMANDS of the HOUR.
This is your responsibility, not mine, to come up with your respective innovative solutions in your field and then take action. When you do just that and if you succeed to meet and exceed the expectations of your followers/clients/community, you take the credit plus the rewards!!!
I’m not an expert in medicine, media, politics, or any other field except leadership and management. And thus, not stupid and reckless to try to come up with solutions or take actions in other fields 🙂 lol”
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