By: Rod Stewart, Halftime CertifiedTM Coach
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what good, strong, Spirit-led leadership looks like in the midst of a crisis. While watching a documentary on Franklin Delano Roosevelt and how he led our country out of the Great Depression with a combination of clarity, communication and innovation, I marveled at the way he stood up and took responsibility in the midst of fear. It was then that he delivered his famous line, ‘The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.’
It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the news and unconsciously feed a feeling of fear and anxiety. But, much like FDR, we don’t have to let fear deter us from providing hope, being creative, making changes and communicating with clarity.
This reminded me of a coaching call I had with a Halftime Fellows client recently. He is the CEO of a business newspaper and has a position of great influence in his community. I asked him, ‘What are your opportunities personally and professionally in this present crisis?’ He responded by saying that he is super energized as he realizes how his platform can be used for good. And he is reminded again, to lead one must serve. He applied a principle from the book of Esther to his own life and noted, ‘God has blessed me for such a time as this’. Throughout the course of our coaching conversation, he uncovered his Top 10 applicable conclusions, which I asked his permission to share with you:
1. Trust the Lord, be creative, and use your platform for the good of your community.
2. Rely on God’s faithfulness as shown in your past.
3. Ask ‘How can I help?’ and ‘What can I do?’, rather than focusing on what can’t be done.
4. Realize that tough times are the best times to focus on others.
5. Let go of things you can’t control.
6. In a crisis, stand firm or wither. I choose to stand firm.
7. Take time daily to get alone with God and listen to that ‘still, small Voice’.
8. Look for opportunities to encourage others.
9. Be creative and innovate rapidly. Ask each of your leaders to give new ideas for the organization in an atmosphere of listening and acceptance.
10. Seek to build community and bring people together.
Do any of the ideas on his list resonate with you?
How can you seek to incorporate them into your life now, so that when the next challenge arises, you’re well-equipped?
I was on the leadership team of my technology business during the 2008 Great Recession when our bookings dropped 90% in one month. We were faced with an existential crisis and took a series of actions to preserve the business and treat people as fairly as we could, even in the face of great uncertainty. Reflecting back on that crisis, the Top 3 lessons we learned were:
1. Be Clear in your values and reinforce the vision of your organization often. Provide hope and clarity of direction even in the face of uncertainty. Over-communicate, be transparent, and reach out to personally talk with multiple levels in your organization.
2. Be Positive and demonstrate care for your employees. How can we be ‘light in the darkness?’ Spend extra time brainstorming with your team on where to take the organization and how to connect people and create bonds.
3. Be Adaptable. Focus on innovation and creativity to find new opportunities to serve your customers. As Peter Drucker said ‘The essential ingredient for success is a steady stream of innovation’. That is true now more than ever!
Here’s a secret though: You also need to take extra care of yourself during a crisis and be aware your own needs.
Most of the clients I’ve talked with in the past two months believe that this crisis needs to be thought of as a marathon, not a sprint. So, the question is, ‘How will you maintain your emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health over the long haul even as the stress of leading is higher?’
Spending extra time each morning in solitude with the Lord, absorbing His truth, and asking Him for guidance is key to filling your cup full enough to empower you to pour it out into others. You may even find in hindsight that this was one of the most fulfilling times of your life.
Additionally, connecting with a Coach who can serve as a thought-partner, sounding board, and source of encouragement can make all the difference. We’re here to help you navigate, no matter the season, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Finally, remember that you aren’t alone. For extra inspiration and resources, I’d encourage you to check out this special webinar series hosted by Halftime Founding Partner, Lloyd Reeb, highlighting the many ways other Halftimers are using this season as a platform for good.