Normally, when June starts to edge close to becoming July, I post a blog and invite my readers to reflect on their leadership performance over the first six months of the year.
Mid-year is a great time to pause and take stock of my experiences and key learnings. Where did I struggle, and what will I focus on for the balance of the year?
As I think of the first six months of 2020, all I can say is – OMG!!! Although you likely don’t need to be reminded about everything that has transpired, I do want to tell you a bit about how it personally affected me.
The year started with a high degree of stress as both of my aging parents experienced health issues that required extended hospital stays. The weight of managing their situation was intense. Fortunately, their health improved, and now we were able to find them a new home in a retirement community. I also learned during this period that my experience was hardly unique; many people in my network experienced the same struggles and challenges with their parents.
Now, if dealing with that wasn’t already stressful enough, then came along COVID-19. The world shut down. My team and I stayed close to our clients, finding ways to support them through one of the toughest leadership challenges of our generation.
While we were battling the uncertainty of a global pandemic, we witnessed the tragic death of George Floyd, which sparked an eruption of protests around the world to bring attention to systemic racism and police brutality. We needed to once again be reminded that Black Lives Matter because it’s clear we didn’t get the message when the BLM movement was forged several years ago.
This time around, I believe all leaders need to think deeply about their own biases and how they may intentionally or unintentionally marginalize groups of people. I believe fighting racism is an inside job. What I mean by this is that all leaders need the honesty and courage to confront our own biases. We need to understand how we and our companies may be perpetuating the status quo. We need to commit to making things better wholeheartedly as the current state of things is unacceptable.
In the midst of all of this, my team and I released my new book, Accountable Leaders. I produced five eBooks, launched three infographics and participated in a host of podcasts. We also launched the Accountable Leaders App and digital community, and soon will also be launching my new company website. We have continued to push ahead with these priorities because we remain fully committed to the idea that our world needs leaders to be stronger than they have ever been, and we are here to support them.
As the year began, I could not have predicted how much change we would see in just a few months. However, it’s the magnitude and speed of all this change that makes it even more important for all leaders to pause and reflect on our roles.
In my book, The Leadership Contract Field Guide, I provide a series of questions that you might find helpful to guide your reflection. Once you’re done, you may also want to find some time to sit down with your manager to have a quick mid-year discussion.
Don’t just mentally answer the questions; take the time to consider and write down your responses.
- How did you show up as an accountable leader in the first half of a tumultuous 2020?
- How did you support and work to make your team stronger during this time?
- In what ways did you demonstrate courage, resilience and resolve to lead your people and organization?
- How did you strengthen the sense of community among the leaders in your organization?
- Looking to the next six months, how do you believe you need to step up to be a truly accountable leader?
I would be interested to hear about some of your insights. Feel free to reach out to me with your comments.
I wish you, your colleagues and families much health over the summer months.