Essential Leadership: Strong Backs, Open Hearts

How are you supposed to navigate and lead your team during this crisis?  Your work is already filled with making lots of small and impactful decisions.  But the added layer of new budgets in light of an economic downturn, working under a new level stress…the bridge is feeling the stress and weight of the heavy burden.

How are you supposed to manage being an employee and figuring out home/social life?  Your son or daughter aren’t going to have a traditional high school prom and graduation.  All of the fun activities you’ve been doing are at a halt. No more gym, weekend soccer tournaments, music shows, or coffee shop dates.  

What’s your rally cry at this moment in your professional and personal life?  

Jerry Colonna in his book, “Reboot”, says, 

“What standards of dignity do you hold yourself to, regardless of how things unfold? What do the people who have counted on you to lead them need from you at this moment?”

Jerry Colonna, Reboot

Difficult times call us to take inventory from within. To let questions shape our inquiry for how we ought to handle what has transpired in the last 8 weeks. To go within our hearts and minds means to make an inquiry of the self: “what kind of leader (at work and/or at home) am I?”

As this new normal and reality hits us dead in the face, we have a choice of who to be and how to respond. 

This is your 5 minute check-in with yourself. Do it.  Ask the questions.  

  • What are you made of?
  • What kind of leader do you want to be during this time?
  • What is most alive in me these days?

Colonna, a CEO who runs an executive leadership and coaching firm, says, 

“Learning to lead yourself is the hardest part of becoming a leader…because it requires us to look at the reality of all that we are—not to fix blame on ourselves but to understand with clarity what is really happening in our lives.”

Taking self-inquiry is part of the vocation to be a healthy leader.  It’s a growth element. We are trying to confront reality outside and within.  When we grow, those around us grow!  

You are going through the crucible.  Your leadership will never be the same after this year.  The practicing of becoming a leader with a strong back and open heart.  This is the warrior stance!  

Strong back:  clarity and vision, fiscal discipline, delegating responsibility, holding team members accountable.

Open heart:  caring for people, purpose, and meaning; building trust and empathy.

I’ve heard enough stories from leaders to know who they long to be: strong backs, open hearts.