Leadership Lessons for the Fall

Over the past six months, business and not for profit leaders have had to step up to manage through adversity and hardship, while at the same time leading their teams through change. Working with organizations throughout the Maritimes, we’ve had a chance to observe really great leaders excel. These leaders have focused on addressing big questions about their businesses while supporting their people. As we move into the fall, and possibly a second wave of hunkering down, here are some of the lessons in leadership that we’ve taken away from observing real life, action-oriented leadership:

In a crisis, you and your organization must have the ability to keep your head above water, just like swimming in the ocean. This takes preparation and conditioning developed over years by keeping your skills sharp, staying on top of changing environmental conditions, and going with the flow while staying in control of the situation as much as possible. We’ve worked with some great swimmers. Keep developing yourself and your team to prepare for waves.

We’ve observed great leaders getting ahead of the rumour mill about layoffs and closures, addressing issues about mask usage, shift changes and operational standards as soon as they could possibly share information. They’ve done this real-time, preparing the team as they prepare themselves to meet challenges head on, enabling their teams to bring solutions to the table to support their businesses. Be open and honest even when the news is bad. 

We’ve seen action-oriented leaders establish short-term sustainability goals, demonstrating a steady hand at the wheel. Establishing goals allowed team members to focus on what is important for the long term while overcoming immediate challenges, like weathering a storm at sea to reach your final destination. These leaders didn’t allow the short-term challenges to define them or their organizations, rather, they considered it part of their critical path. Play the long game by establishing short-term goals.

For the first time in my career, leaders were asking the right question about workplace flexibility to support physical, mental and spiritual well-being. No longer did they focus on time in chair, but instead, focused on productivity and achievement of goals. They understood that the whole person needed to be supported, and that there is a false wall between work and life.  As employers, focus on the whole person.

As we think about the fall, and our next season of this epic pandemic journey, let’s take these lessons with us. During crisis, leaders either step up or they step back. For you, for your team, and for your business, step up.