on April 07, 2020 Retail Insights

Rising to the Occasion

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In just a matter of a few weeks the coronavirus has slammed the brakes on the worldwide economy and its workforce. Most believe there will eventually be a strong recovery.  But no one can predict with any confidence when it will begin or how it will evolve over the medium term. With so much uncertainty people look to leaders for answers. And leading in the face of never-seen-before challenges requires more than sheer business acumen.

Founder of Adaptive Edge and Global Executive Coach Scott Zimmerman said in a recent social media post:

“People want leaders who...

  • - Are believable, transparent and have others’ best interests at heart
  • - Help others make sense of what’s real
  • - Give guidance about what to do
  • - Help others feel safe and give them hope.”
  1. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
  2. Quickly Becoming Recognized as a Beacon of Stability
  3. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/5-reasons-gov-cuomo-and-dr-fauci-are-americas-de-facto-leaders-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic-2020-03-30
  1. Dr. Emily Landon, Chief Infectious Disease Epidemiologist at the University of Chicago Medicine
  2. Communicating with Clarity, Expertise, Empowerment
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/03/20/emily-landon-coronavirus/

In our search for inspiration in the world happening around us, we found many individuals who are doing all of those things above and more. They’re meeting immediate needs, showing up with transparency and courage and doing so swiftly and calmly.  Some are known experts in their given field; others are everyday people, like us at Spectas and maybe like you. These leaders cause us to want to say thank you and inspire us at Spectas to want to do more in our global fight for survival.  And we see more and more leaders emerging as our ‘new normal’ changes every day.  This gives further cause to the thinking that ‘everybody’ from any walk of life can be a leader.

Bryan Morin, Owner of Federico’s, Local Pizzeria in New Jersey
Evidence that Leadership Happens Every Day and In All Walks of Life
https://apnews.com/59d1ce33192a45f559e3d08cc7476e55
  1. Local companies pivoting, re-engineering and stepping up to fill the void.
  2. Leadership from the Top-Down – Pivoting, Re-engineering and Executing
  3. https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/news/2020/04/01/local-companies-stepping-up-to-fill-void-in.html

 

10 Tips for Effective Leadership During the Coronavirus Crisis

  1. 1. Align expectations

In a crisis, you may not have all the answers but will need to address the unknown and speak confidently. People will expect actions from you. Aligning expectations and realities takes skill, insight and patience, as well as the ability to admit you don't have all the answers. Leaders communicate early and often.

  1. 2. All eyes are on you

Leaders often forget that all eyes are on them. This is especially true as the intensity of a situation grows. In such moments, people look to leaders, searching their words, actions and body language for guidance. Your challenge is to see yourself outside of yourself to gain an understanding of how others see and perceive you as a leader. Self-awareness is a critical capability that leaders must develop.

  1. 3. Stay positive
  2.  
  3. "The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails." -- John Maxwell

Remain as optimistic as possible. How you show up in a crisis has a significant impact. Positive thoughts and actions focus on strengths, successes, opportunities and collaboration. Leaders radiate trust, hope and optimism that leads to positive energy, confidence and purpose.

  1. 4. Tell the truth

Communication is your kryptonite. Crisis often includes misinformation that leads to confusion. Explain the problem honestly in a straightforward way, focusing on positive steps to overcome it. Choose words wisely, be consistent and clear. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. If you are confusing, you are losing.

  1. 5. Know what you stand for

When someone asks what you as a leader stand for--what do you say? What is your purpose, mission and values? Every action should reflect this. Leaders work from a place of purpose. A higher mission that motivates and inspires teams for action. You, as a leader, are a brand. Don't miss an opportunity to lead and build your brand equity in a crisis.

  1. 6. Demonstrate empathy

Listen to understand. Show people that you genuinely care by relating to their perspective. Recognize behaviors and respond to emotions. Remember: Empathy isn't about what you want--it's about what the other person needs. 

  1. 7. See the big picture

Leaders can see the big picture and visualize the potential impact long before others do. It's crucial to step back, observe and make sense of the situation. Leaders must be comfortable with what they can't see. One of the hardest things to do in a crisis is to step back from managing the urgent problems while maintaining focus on the bigger picture.

  1. 8. Slow down and stay calm

Keep calm and carry on! People need to feel safe and secure. The composure of leaders must embody agility and patience to minimize the impact of uncertainty. Take care of yourself, mentally and physically, so that you can be fully present.

  1. 9. Have a plan

"The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet." --Theodore M. Hesburgh

If you don't know where you're going, you'll never get there. Focus and discipline are essential. Envision success and build a plan that is easy to understand and flexible in responding to the unknown.

  1. 10. Simply lead

Leaders simply lead. They work from within themselves, with the courage, emotional intelligence and integrity to navigate the crisis around them. They are prepared; they don't panic. They care and communicate in service of others. Leaders are ordinary people doing extraordinary things. .(Edited from original source: Inc. Magazine)

Don't miss an opportunity to lead--to rise above the chaos and crisis when everything seems impossible. The world needs you.

 

Matt Sherman

Creative Director at Spectas