Uncertain times like these call for great leaders. Transformational leaders who can lead their organisations and teams through turbulent times into a new tomorrow. Because, make no mistake, the post COVID-19 world is going to be very different from the world we entered in January 2020.
Transformational leaders lead with confidence, regardless of what is happening around them. In fact, adversity seems to be a prerequisite for transformational leaders to emerge. That doesn’t mean they are not afraid; it means they are able to look beyond the circumstances to access strength, courage and wisdom from sources which other people are unaware of.
The great leaders who will remain standing after all the shaking is done, are the ones who tap into these three hidden resources:
You can’t lead others if you fail to lead yourself first. Navigating uncertain times successfully requires a high degree of self-awareness. You need to be aware of who you are. How do you tend to think and behave? What are your areas of strength and limitation? Where do you tend to perform at your best? Where do you tend to get triggered?
We all have distinct leadership styles. Different leaders have different ways they approach and solve problems. Using a personality assessment, such as the DISC model for understanding behavioural style, can help you be more aware of strengths that you can leverage for peak performance at this time, as well as areas for development that need to be mitigated.
For example, if you are a Dominant, D-style leader, you thrive by making decisions quickly and you rely on your dynamic drive and determination to power you forward. You are in danger, however, of driving over the thoughts and feelings of others, alienating the very people you need to help you make it through this crisis. You are also at risk of driving yourself into the ground, if you don’t make time for self-care.
Having this perspective will also help you to fully appreciate the special gifts that everyone on your team brings. As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” You need your team now more than ever before.
Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great” put it this way, “Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus. They always think first about who and then about what. When facing chaos and uncertainty, and you cannot possibly predict what’s coming around the corner, your best ‘strategy’ is to have a busload of people who can adapt to and perform brilliantly no matter what comes next. Great vision without great people is irrelevant.”
You’ve probably heard it many times before, but that doesn’t make it any less true: Great leaders know their “Why”. And I don’t mean they have an organisational vision and mission statement engraved on a plaque gathering dust on some obscure wall. Great leaders live and breathe their Why. They know who they are and why they are here. They know what they want. The specifics of how they are going to get there might change, but they have a clear picture of what the brighter future looks like for them and those they lead.
Why do you do what you do? Are you motivated by a cause greater than yourself, your team, and your organisation? Now is the time to connect with the bigger picture of humanity. If there is one thing the COVID-19 crisis had shown us, it’s how interconnected we are in this world. We are truly living in a global village where the concerns on one side of the earth greatly impact our daily existence over on the other side. Corporate social responsibility in the wake of COVID-19 should take on a deeper and more urgent meaning.
Undergirding your personality and your purpose are your principles. Your values inform how you do everything that you do. Your values determine where you decide to go, what you decide to do and how you decide to do it. To successfully navigate uncertain times, you cannot adopt a Machiavellian attitude that, “the end justifies the means.” This type of short-term thinking will eventually undermine your long-term efforts.
What are your non-negotiables? What will or won’t you accept from others? More importantly, what will you or won’t you accept from yourself? What boundaries have you set for yourself that you will not allow to be crossed?
34-year old Dr Li Wenliang has been hailed as a hero. The Chinese doctor first tried to warn the world about a mysterious virus and continued to post about it despite being reprimanded by the authorities, even after he was infected and was dying in a hospital bed.
The world is looking for heroes. People who stand for something, despite everything they stand to lose. Transformational leaders are the heroes. Transformational leaders aren’t the extraordinary people among us. Transformational leaders are ordinary people who know who they are, know what they want and are willing to stand by unshakeable principles for the greater good of humanity, to take us all where we need to go.
Are you one of our heroes, hiding in plain sight? Tap into your three hidden resources. The world needs you now.