Navigating through a crisis takes skill and a good foundation. In this episode, Patrick Veroneau discusses the seven behaviors needed to lead through a crisis and the importance of stepping up as the leader of the pack. Reimagining leadership involves a constant pursuit of continuous learning. Patrick talks about the void that continues to widen ineffective leadership, and the lack of equipment leaders possess before taking the position. Tune in as Patrick explores the different leadership behaviors you will need to get through the hard times.
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The 7 Behaviors Needed To Lead Through A Crisis
We’re going to discuss the seven behaviors that you need to successfully lead through a crisis. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, while I’ve seen many examples of great leadership through this. Honestly, I’ve seen far too many at all levels of government within organizations and in the community that lack the behaviors that are necessary for us to be able to navigate this. I will tell you, at one point, as I was thinking of the title for this, I almost wanted to put the title as Wanted: Leaders to Address Crisis. Step Up is All You Need to Do to Apply. There are behaviors here that we’re going to talk about that will make all the difference in there based on both research and real-world experiences.
I believe there are seven behaviors that are most important. We’re going to talk about leading through crisis, but if you can lead through a crisis, then you can certainly lead through better times. What I’m seeing now is the void in effective leadership continues to widen where we’re seeing that individuals that maybe had positions of title with their authority didn’t have the equipment to be able to lead through this. This is the problem that we’re running into. The first behavior that I want to recommend is simply around learning. Leaders are learners. If you are not learning and being curious about how do you improve your skills as a leader, then you will be left behind. This environment, certainly, we’re seeing that.
I will often use and have done for over a decade a quote by a gentleman named Eric Hoffer. He said, “In times of change, leaders inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” Learners inherit the earth in times of change. We’re always going through change. Especially, when you get up into higher levels of leadership that, “I got all the way here. I get it. I know how to do this.” Oftentimes, they don’t. They navigated a political situation to be able to get where they are, but they don’t have the behaviors that inspire, empower, and compel those people that report to them. That’s what we’re talking about here in terms of effective leadership is doing those three things.Leaders are learners. Click To Tweet
When you can inspire somebody to want to go where you’re asking them to go, when you empower them to be able to say, “I can do it and go where you want me to go,” and you compel them. They’re able to say, “I will go where you’re asking me to go.” There’s an intrinsic motivation there, which doesn’t rely on my title anymore or an extrinsic carrying a stick to get people to do what I’m wanting them to do out of fear. It’s those three things. It starts with learning, with always being out there to look at, “How do I improve my skillset?” That’s key to this. The next one that I will talk about in terms of the behavior is around congruence, walking the talk that if we’re making decisions in a crisis situation, what are we basing those off of?
In organizations, we probably have values, missions, and visions. To me, those are our true north that when we can make decisions and at least back them up saying that, “The decision that we’re making is based on this value. We’re staying consistent with this.” When we don’t do that, we lose our own compass. We lose those around us to be inspired, empowered, and compelled to follow where we need them to go.
The next is around appreciation. This is about recognizing that we’re all different personalities, different skillsets, that if we don’t recognize the value in that, of diversity within a group and drawing people in, as a leader, I can’t have all the answers nor should I be expected to. To me, this is about being able to draw on the resources of those around me, to appreciate, “Who do I have on this team? What are their strengths? How do I draw them into coming up with the best solution?” That’s how this works, not one person to do that or two people, but as many as I can from as many different various backgrounds that can help me to get as much information as I need to get on this.
The next one plays on that somewhat, but it’s around belongingness. We know all the research in regards to inclusion and how important that is that we need people to feel as though they’re part of the solution. That they’re part of what is happening. When we don’t have that, people feel isolated and this isn’t part of this show, but there is much research in regards to isolation and it has a negative impact on us all the way to mortality. It’s been shown that isolation in its most physical sense has a risk factor that’s on par with either smoking or cardiovascular disease as it relates to mortality. The importance of drawing people in is certainly valid.
Next, we talk about listening. Strong leaders are listeners as well, and they listen in a variety of ways to try and be curious as to what other people have to say. They don’t get defensive about it. They’re open to exploring what are the other opinions or perspectives that I can draw in. What that allows us to do when we’re listening as a leader is to diminish the negative impact of confirmation bias. What happens in confirmation bias is I look to the evidence that backs up what I believe in and I discount all the other stuff that goes against that, even if it’s valid. It doesn’t matter if we have an education level whether it’s GED or PhD, we can all fall victim to being in this trap of confirmation bias.
When we listen, it allows us to diminish the impact that confirmation bias has on us, because we’re being curious about what else is going on and that’s what we need out of leaders. The next is around empathy. It involves thinking about how do my decisions or what we’re putting out there can impact other people and to think about it from the standpoint of, “How does this affect a large business? How does this affect a small business? How does this affect a frontline employee or an owner?” When we can think about the long-term impact of all the people that are involved in a situation, we need to be able to do that. If some of you might think, “This is all too soft. There’s nothing here that has any substance.” I will tell you that the last behavior that I will talk about is around specifics.
Clear Expectations and Decisiveness
That is about clear expectations and decisiveness. If there is a trap that I see many leaders falling into is that they’re not providing enough in regards to clear expectations, to allow people to know what is expected. There are far too many people that are saying, “Guidance is coming. We’ll get this next week.” That’s not what people need. People need some type of transparency here when you’re leading them to know where are we going? The other part of this is around decisiveness. That’s the ability to act, “While I might take off all of the information around me into my decision and try and weight these things, when it comes to the end and the decision has to be made, then there are times where I’m going to have to make a difficult decision based on all the data that I can. I will not continue to push this down the road and I won’t allow somebody else to take the fall for it. I will be responsible for the decisions I make, but I will be decisive on this.”
That builds much trust in individuals when, first, they’ve been taken into account. I’ve demonstrated to them that I’ve tried to hear as many perspectives as I can on this. Here is my decision going forward. If we can’t get a consensus as a group, then my role as the leader of this is to make a final decision on this as best I can. We’re all human. There are times where I’m going to make the wrong decision. As long I am responsible for that and I can own that, then from a standpoint of inspiring, empowering, and compelling others to follow my lead, I’ve built a level of trust there because they know that I’m going to be responsible for what I said. In this time, these seven behaviors are important.Learners inherit the earth in times of change. Click To Tweet
The first one is be a learner, continually try and learn. That’s the only way we get better because the world continues to change. Those that are learned are the ones that say, “I don’t need to learn any of this stuff.” You are going to be left holding the bag. What you thought was leadership going forward will not work. The other six behaviors that I talk about are in a blueprint that I put together called CABLES. The whole idea behind CABLES is to think of this as though each one of these behaviors builds a stronger continuous cable when it’s wrapped around itself. When we do that, when we think of it in an analogy of a bridge, we’re building stronger relationships through these cables that we develop, these behaviors.
The C in this model is congruent with the blueprint, that’s the C cable. The A cable is around Appreciation. The B cable is around Belongingness and Being for others. The L cable here is around Listening. The E cable is around Empathy and S cable is around Specifics, which is about clear expectations and being decisive. That is about re-imagining what effective leadership is going to look like going forward. We are finding a better way. I hope you will challenge either yourself or someone around you to identify and develop these behaviors that will not only get us through a crisis but certainly will be much more beneficial when we’re not in a crisis as well in terms of helping us to grow even better. I hope you found this episode helpful. If you know somebody you think would find this valuable, I ask you to forward it to them. Please go and subscribe to the show. It would mean the world to me if you would leave a rating or a comment as it relates to re-imagining leadership. Until our next episode, I hope you’re able to go out there and rise above your best.