Challenging Times Call for Exceptional Leadership

Published on June 9, 2020

These challenging times require extraordinary leadership. Turn crisis into opportunity! In a 2015 Forbes article, Travis Bradberry listed twelve great leadership virtues, and we’d like to share their importance in this COVID-19 world.

First, consider the need for authentic communication with all stakeholders. Self-awareness is crucial to recognize one’s own struggles and feelings and use those to advantage in fueling their sense of purpose. Bradberry points out that we seek courage in leaders to know it’s safe to be courageous on our own, and flock to leaders who address formidable challenges head-on. Humility and generosity are critically important when people are ready to contribute, and want to believe their contributions will be heard and considered.

We don’t want to hear the word “infectiousness” today, but passion and infectiousness drives and attracts followers to leaders who provide clarity and a sense of purpose. Bradberry correctly points out how meaningful these virtues are, especially now.

In rEvolution, Tim Leman relates the “Letter that started it all,” which put a spotlight on satisfaction with the status quo. How timely, just before the Great Recession, to ignite change and a drive for clarity in courageously tackling their weaknesses to become a stronger organization. It took a measure of daring and audacity to suggest that even while business was fine, it could be significantly stronger. In 2007, how many organizations should have begun this process, and did not survive?

Craig Groeschel’s podcast, Leading Through Crisis illustrates the opportunities that a crisis brings to leaders. Unexpected problems, as Groeschel relates, provides opportunities that go previously unnoticed. Practical opportunities offer the time to work on those things that can be improved. One of my clients has taken today’s shutdown opportunity to replace his factory’s lighting system, saving a significant amount of ongoing utility cost. Another client has exploited downtime to make major equipment upgrades that would have been impossible before.

Groeschel also correctly points out that unexpected problems offer business opportunities. Unexpected problems require solutions, and thoughtful and nimble organizations will bring great solutions to their clients and customers. In one case, a competitor finds they can no longer service a business segment, opening an opportunity for others. Mission opportunities arise for nonprofits and for-profits alike. Leaders with foresight know they can provide solutions, but only when they focus on the problems that matter the most.

Today’s fear of COVID-19 disrupts decision making and permits paralysis to infect our organizations. You are not alone. Use the lessons of Bradbury, Leman, and Groeschel to turn crisis into opportunity, and be stronger than before.