by Terry McKenna
Thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic, we have never needed leadership more than we do now. The question ownership must ask itself is, Do our current leaders have the capacity to lead my organization into an unknown future? Leaders today must be: forward-thinking, strategically flexible, and adaptable, with a willingness to challenge the status quo and conventional wisdom. Leaders must have a healthy disregard for the impossible, and the skillset to think strategically and plan systematically. Does this sound like the leaders in your organization? If not, then the more important question is, What are you going to do about it? What you do next is what mattes the most!
Leaders, historically, and this will never change, are responsible for three things: 1) produce results, 2) lead, and 3) develop future leaders. Now that the Coronavirus Pandemic has ushered in a new normal, which has drastically changed the rules of engagement, we can add a forth responsibility for today’s leaders: reenergize their people and their organizations.
For most organization, the Coronavirus Pandemic and it’ aftermath have upended life as we know it. The resulting pain, grief, and economic dislocation will be felt long into the future. The first priority for leaders, therefore, is to lead with empathy and compassion as they revitalize and reenergize their exhausted teams and organizations. Organizations are fatigued. They need to catch their breadths in order to regroup and prepare for the second act – the post-pandemic future. Organizations need to become future-ready.
The pandemic has blown all the traditional limitations out the window. Everything is on the table. Anything is possible. The pandemic offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity for change. The case for reimaging your organization and taking bold actions has never been clearer. But to do this, you need leaders; real leaders, not people merely filling a leadership position. So how do you know if you have real leaders? Here are five key questions that can help you assess the leaders in your organization:
1. Your leaders consistently produce results. The operative word is consistently.
2. Your leaders develop future leaders. How many leaders have your current
leaders developed in the past five years?
3. Your leaders have followers who are energized, focused on the mission,
possess a can-do attitude, and willingly follow their leader.
4. Your leaders are forward-leaning, think strategically as well as tactically, and
plan and prepare for the future. Or do they react to the future once it arrives at
their doorstep? BTW – the problem with the future is that it always arrives
before we’re ready for it. Should the future arrive at your doorstep before you’re
ready for it – guess what? It’s too late!
5. Your leaders challenge your organization’s status quo and dogmas. Do they
push your organization to get better, faster, and more efficient, or do they quietly
play the hand your organization deals them?
As difficult as this time is for many, it’s also the opportunity of a lifetime. This is a time of extraordinary change. The whole world is upside down, but that spells opportunity for business leaders whose eyes are wide open. Your eyes have to be wide open because opportunities and silver linings don’t fall from the sky squarely into your lap. Opportunities and silver linings only reveal themselves to those who go looking for them. If you look past the hardship and struggle, this can be a very exciting time. Opportunities are around every corner and people are desperate for solutions. You will only benefit from this crisis if you see it as an opportunity. If you look for hardship, you’ll find it everywhere; if you look for opportunities, you’ll find those everywhere as well.
Every opportunity has an expiration date. The only remaining question to ask yourself is, Will you and your leaders seize this opportunity?