June Leadership Message
In my life, I would never have imagined a day when I would see employee directives to work from home, travel bans, self-quarantine, masks being worn, and grocery store shelves depleted. With no “playbook” as to how to respond, I have found myself trying to find the balance as a mother, business owner, friend, and leader. My initial instinct was that of panic, perhaps even that of over-reaction. I feel as if I have evolved over the past few weeks to a cautious ambiguity.
In my role as a leader, I am navigating the uncertain path with an “extra-safe” resolve. My goal is to minimize any potential fall out, keep fear in check, and create contingencies as we continue to forge ahead and move towards the future. At times this has been a struggle and I want to show courage and decisiveness. In a world lacking reliable information and ambiguity, I find that my decisions can trigger anxiety.
As I settle into this “new normal”, I find myself exploring ways to deal with the stress of uncertainty. It is my responsibility to ensure that I am showing up and dialing down the anxiety, versus stoking it. I have done this through encouraging optimism, establishing a sense of community and being more compassionate. I find that I am listening more and providing healthy feedback where appropriate. I am emulating a safety net that keeps the fear in check in these uncertain times.
Coupled with this, I feel it is important to foster a sense of family amongst other organizations and my staff. We are all facing an unknown and while each person’s unknown may vary, we need to remember we are all in it together. We are rallied together, for a common purpose. The adage comes to mind, “These are the worst of times and the best of times”, which seems to fit our new normal. It has helped me to build trust, to grow loyalty and to strengthen the bonds of my “family”.
One of my weaknesses in the past was leading with my head and not my heart. I have certainly had to learn how to adjust to ensure that I have connected with my team on an emotional level. Prioritizing them, listening to them, making myself more available to connect in unscripted ways has taken precedence. I want them to know I genuinely support them.
Perhaps the most important skill set at this point-in-time, is building organizational resilience. Finding creative ways to solve logistical challenges and brainstorming approaches to ensure that organizationally we emerge on the other side of this pandemic more agile, more competitive, and better off than we did going into it. This has been the catalyst for doing business better than we have ever done it before.
If history has taught us anything, it is that the worst of times can bring out the best in people. I can say, with certainty, that this association has the best of the best in members. Collectively, we can think more broadly, advance more intelligently, and focus on being the best leaders we can.