A few weeks ago, I was adjusting to leading during a global pandemic and got some advice from my coach. I wrote up a post after my session, which I shared with a number of my colleagues – all leaders in technology. I’ve been meaning to write this up into a more comprehensive post, but that hasn’t happened. I think a slightly tweaked version is enough though. Perfect is the enemy of good, and all that
We’re all doing difficult jobs in difficult times at the moment, and I wanted to share some thoughts I’ve had about just how tough some of our challenges are right now.
Overnight, our priorities as humans and also as employees have changed. We need to recognise that and adapt to it. It’s important that we understand the context in which we’re working in these unprecedented times.
My coach shared a quote with me that’s really illustrated that for me. I find it extremely motivating, but it’s OK if you find it a little terrifying.
In this moment, you don’t get a pass. Either you’re going to be a great leader or you’re not. There’s no business as usual and you can’t go back to how things were.
This is leadership in “expert” mode and it’s the kind of experience that can forge incredible, resilient leaders. It’s also an experience that can break us if we’re not resilient or don’t support each other. And resilience here is not just the ability to bounce back but also to have the optimism that you can come back.
This is a really important time for us – as humans, as employees and as leaders. It’s critical that we face the challenges that we’re seeing with courage, compassion and optimism, while also taking care of ourselves and those around us. It’s a big ask so it’s important that we’re honest with ourselves about where we are and what we’re finding difficult.
It’s also important to understand that we can hold two conflicting states at the same time: You can be a good leader in a crisis, and you can also be struggling to deal with the crisis. It’s OK to feel like this, many of us do. Acknowledge it at a minimum, embrace it if you can and talk about it. You might help someone else to understand their own conflict.
Remember that we make choices about what we do every day, and we can to choose to be great leaders. We can choose to lean in to hard stuff, choose to develop and grow, and to support those around us.