Are you the leader you’d want to have? What makes your leadership style stand out? Recently, I joined host Janna Macik, CRP, GMS-T to have a discussion about five leadership strategies to consider during current crisis circumstances. From there, we decided to further collaborate to translate this into an article with some take-aways for you all!
Recently, I joined host Janna Macik to have a discussion about five leadership strategies to consider during current crisis circumstances. Janna is a talented Global Staffing and Mobility Manager and Immigration expert, focused on leadership, empowerment, and making meaningful connections. She is not afraid to reach across or to offer support or an uplifting message and positivity to her colleagues or family. Janna is the host of the weekly #LinkedIn Live Broadcast “Powering Unique You”, and each week she shares her gratitude for a platform that connects each one of us to unique opportunities. Janna and I first connected on LinkedIn and are both grateful for this LinkedIn platform that can bring people together in different states, countries, and cities.
Now that virtually is the only way we can connect with each other, these connections and platforms have become that much more valuable. Janna and I are both passionate about leadership and wanted to share with you some core leadership skills and techniques to lead during these #COVID-19 times. Leadership is not just about titles or leading a corporation. Everyone is a leader. You lead yourself in life and career, your teams of family, friends, Spouse, and others around you. We will step through utilizing certain strategies, working with our teams, exhibiting leadership, and being authentic.
As for me, I am working in #HR and have such a passion for helping people. I absolutely love telling my story, and I was very excited to join Janna to talk about this leadership topic. I’ve had a few different careers. I started out in Medical Billing, moved into Legal Billing, then went back to school to see what HR was all about, fell in love with it, and haven’t looked back since. It’s my Calling and a passion. I just transitioned from an HR Management role at a Tech company and right now, I am allowing myself some grace and freedom to explore some new opportunities, bring education to people, and to be able to impact individuals’ lives in Human Resources.
I’m mentoring some individuals right now, and also volunteering as Head of People Programs with a Non-Profit organization called girls + data. We are a fully-remote team of engaged volunteers teaching girls that there is more to a career in Data than coding and programming. We provide Data Camps to teach them Data Literacy, they get an opportunity to present the information that they’ve come up with throughout the day in front of their peers, and build confidence to become future #womenindata and #womenintech. Our girls + data team has a vast array of expertise in careers in Human Resources, Tech, Marketing, Social Media (to name a few) and they volunteer time outside of their regular day jobs. Through my leadership and partnership in the organization, I have even learned more on the Tech side through the collaborations with our wonderful team! Who would’ve thought?? It’s such an enriching experience and I’m so grateful to be on the People side of this great organization! Now that we’ve given you a bit of background about us, let’s jump into the Five Leadership Strategies:
Know yourself and be authentic
It starts with making sure we’re self-aware if we expect that of our teams, knowing ourselves and what our strengths and opportunities are, and what makes you uniquely you, celebrating that and bringing it 100% to your team in the work environment. This piece is so critical. We are responsible for those in our charge, so we first need to know how to leverage our strengths and what our opportunities are if we expect to lead a high-performing team and work to develop our team on their strengths and opportunities. As leaders, we first need to do some inward reflection and be ready to roll up our sleeves. We have to recognize that what we want may not be what our team wants. It’s also about asking curious questions and being tapped into what our team wants and needs and not just making it about what we think is best for them.
Knowing your team and looking out for their well-being
This piece is also critical, and your responsibility as a leader always, but especially right now. Don’t check out and be the Absentee Boss. No one likes that in general, and right now your team needs you to focus. Decisions have to be made that are more difficult than ever. None of us saw this COVID crisis coming so it’s very important to check in without an agenda. Some questions to ask are, “How are you doing?” “Are you o.k.?” “Are you adjusting to your workspace?” “What additional support can I provide you with?” Our workspaces have changed and we may have Spouses and children or others we care for in the home, as well as other responsibilities that we are adjusting to. Knowing and understanding that work may not be top of mind for people right now in these unprecedented times is also important. Earlier the week this video was recorded, I had a discussion with a leader who said that he expected a loss of productivity while his team adjusts to this new normal for the first week. To be that strong of a leader to own that and to be transparent with his team to also demonstrate support, accessibility, and availability is Leadership Magic. Checking in without an agenda or to see what the status of a project is or dishing out more work is important right now so that your team sees that you care and that you have their back during this critical time.
Leading by example
We are looking up to our leadership and to each other during these times and how each one of us are adapting and adjusting to the situation. Many of us are feeling the impacts of that more than ever. To be a leader is to be human. To be human is to be human. That means that we’re going to err sometimes. There is a huge fallacy out there that we have to be perfect, but that is a myth. We are human and it’s o.k. to make mistakes and to let your team know that you don’t have all the answers so give yourself some grace. Janna and I had a fantastic previous discussion about being the leader we want to have and role modeling behavior that looks good. If we expect our teams to have certain behaviors and conduct in the workplace, then we need to emulate that as well. It’s about being responsible and accountable and doing what you say you’re going to do and following up. Sometimes when we’re busy, for 1:1s and continuous development of our team, it can be really easy to push these back when our calendars clog up. This is not necessarily the best approach. Your team needs that stability now more than ever and they’re relying on you to keep their spirits high and to keep them engaged. This goes a long way toward engagement and retention. They’ll remember that you had their back, that you cared, and that you did what you said you would do. This situation is day by day for most of us so these things are so important to recognize.
Developing the sense of responsibility and accountability
This strategy goes both ways- for the side of the leader and those we lead. This entails being present and being honest about what’s going on. It’s not easy, this isn’t something we saw coming around the corner, so you wouldn’t have known and you have to make the best decisions that you can. It’s o.k. to say that to your team. People almost expect their leaders to be vulnerable because we’re all kind of vulnerable right now. We’ve never faced something like this before. It’s not always the greatest news you have to share with your team as a leader, and there is information that’s not pretty, fun, or glamorous to share, but as a leader it’s your responsibility for sharing that with your team and you have to be accountable to what you share and what decisions you make and that you impart onto your team. On the flip side of that, although we sometimes have to share information that is tough, and you may not always be on the front side of popularity in these decisions, don’t lose sight of celebrating. I love a good celebration! Now is as good a time as any to celebrate with your team what you’ve accomplished in the face of adversity because this is not easy. You don’t need to wait until a big win happens. Celebrate the small wins too. This is a strategy that is applicable any time as leaders.
Our last strategy here of “Empowerment”- (Empowering yourself and empowering those you lead) wraps everything up in a bow: Celebrating your team, being responsible and doing all the things you said you would do, making sure you’re invested in your team and their development, that you’re checking in on them without an agenda, celebrating small and large wins, bringing them to the next step in their career. At the beginning of the video, we discussed titles and how we can sometimes get so hung up on titles, but we lead in so many different ways, which is the beauty of leadership. Talk about empowerment- the different ways that we can lead in and of itself is powerful! It may look like enriching someone’s job, modeling the way, helping them learn something new, and showing them how to collaborate. People may have tasks right now that they’ve never done before, so it’s about celebrating them when they do learn these new things and helping them along the way on their journey. One of the things I have seen a lot in my HR career is that leaders tend to want to hold on to their high performers, which is natural when they are knocking it out of the park, but use caution here. We can’t be selfish.
We don’t want to hold our team back from development opportunities and from their aspirations for our own benefit. We should empower them to let them fly but be proud that we’ve helped them get to the next level. Some day our team may move on from us, but we want to have a part in empowering them on their journey. There are so many things outside of our control; however, empowerment is within our control. We all control our attitude, our outlook on life, and what we focus on. Do we focus on the negativity? There are lots of challenges, and some businesses have been completely stalled. There are a lot of difficult decisions. There needs to be a shift because there is always something we can be grateful for and we can look at what we do have and be grateful. It’s a part of personal empowerment. As we do that, we generate positive energy from within, and we become like candles leading each other. When we are uplifted, we share that energy together. As a leader, you have to empower yourself to start in the midst of difficult situations and decisions to look at positivity and bring the positivity and light to your team who may be struggling with other negativity and may be struggling with other things that are going on for them.
Right now we’re in our new normal, so I’d encourage us in our new-new normal to continue to reach across, collaborate, not hold things to our chest, because we’re stronger and better together. It’s been so inspiring to watch the community pull together, as well as the number of people whom I’ve partnered and connected with and have been able to help even with this crisis. It is so important that when we talk about empowerment, leadership, the great traits of leadership, how we show up, and what type of leader we want to be, we need to have habits that stick. We are learning some great lessons here that we can carry forward. Sometimes during times of crisis, our resiliency and character are revealed. In these testing times, we have to be intentional. We can’t remain dormant and need to be of service and supporting of our own and others’ mental and physical well-being. Kindness always. Small gestures may seem to be insignificant but could lighten up someone’s day. Humor helps too.
Drop any comments/questions that you have for us below. We’d love to hear from you! We love to connect.
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