The last two years have been filled with despair, uncertainty, frustration and feelings of exhaustion. We are now entering the third year of a global pandemic. Since the world shut down, everything is in a different context now. Leadership feels different. The way we used to lead isn't how we do things anymore. We've had to develop new skills, utilize new tools for communication to create an environment where trust can thrive.
In adapting to this dynamic new environment, we carry our personal examples of leadership with us. In these examples leaders don't lie, steal or cheat. They have courage to care for others despite the cost to themselves. Great leaders can allow people to fail but won't allow anyone to feel like a failure. These all remain true.
No more "Hand on a shoulder"
In our new context, everyone is dispersed. We must help encourage a shared consciousness through the development of shared purpose. This purpose connects us with the intrinsic value of our daily efforts. This helps with our mental health and adaptability as we rise with the challenges.
Clarity fades quicker on dispersed teams. We must utilize all the communication tools at our disposal for clarity. We don't ever get clarity we're always seeking it. Our digital dexterity will be key in getting the clarity we seek each day. Without the ability to put a hand on a shoulder, consistent clear communication is key in this new "work from anywhere, anytime" environment where "swift trust" is a must.
We must learn to embrace and leverage the generational differences of all team members. Their different experiences, different vocabulary and different skill sets make each of them uniquely valuable for any effort.
For some of us, we didn't grow up using the tools we use now. We must emerge from tech dependence to developing tech savvy. Have patience! Learning from those who have grown up with these tools, those who are tech savvy, takes willingness to listen and learn. It takes humility and transparency to embrace the inversion of expertise from younger generations.
We don't decide we are someone's mentor, the other person decides if we are. When we flip the traditional script and learn from everyone, mentorship happens anytime from anyone.
Relationships Still Matter
Relationships will always matter, we just sustain them differently in today's dynamic work environment. Strive for as much "voice to voice" communication as possible to encourage behaviors that show trustworthiness. Leaders aren't great because they are right, they're great because they learn from and trust others. Solid relationships survive on trust. We must have the courage to give it away to get it.
None of this is easy. We will continue to get knocked down. Resilient leaders count on others as much as others count on them. Those we count on will help us back up because the ones we count on need us on our feet.
We must rise with the challenges and meet them together with great leadership!