Leading Through Uncertainty
By Jody M. Wheaton, Executive Director of Client Solutions and Program Management, Corporate College
What an incredible year filled with opportunities and silver linings. Yes, I said silver linings. As a leader in a client-driven learning organization, overcoming obstacles, acting with agility and problem solving is in our DNA. Facing the unknown of COVID-19, we made the decision as a team to act with intentional positive focus and take the challenges head-on. After all, challenge, change, and grit are what make business so exciting, right?
At the outset of working from home, I have to admit anxiety set in. Among other things, the Wi-Fi access went haywire in my house due to high demand and traffic. But I had to snap out of it because my clients and organization needed me more than ever.
As I think about those early days of working from home, I have a number of reflections.
First, connect on a personal level with each of your team members and act with empathy towards their individual needs. Communicate as much as you can and then some, and be present in ways that build togetherness and understanding that we will get through this and will be stronger as a result.
Second, set business priorities, create a plan and change it as needed, making sure the team has provided input and is on board.
Third, emphasize that we can’t let the external world send us to a place of sadness or despair. Keep your head up, celebrate success (even the small wins), be creative and move forward.
Fourth, recognize that this change is one of, if not the most, significant change any leader will be faced with in their career. You will never have the perfect answer to something unprecedented. There is no guidebook for something like COVID-19. Set aside perfection, recognize mistakes will happen and understand decisions may not work out. Dive in and believe with all of your heart and mind that it will be OK in the end!
A very good mentor of mine at the College said “be kind to yourself.” First and foremost, I remember this each and every day and remind my team to do the same.
There is something to be said about facing challenges as a team. It creates new knowledge, a greater appreciation of individual strengths, deepening of relationships, increased employee engagement and a sense of accomplishment. Along this journey, we become stronger, wiser and in a much better position to serve our clients and each other. Bring on the next challenge!
“We cannot become what we need, by remaining what we are.” ̶ John C. Maxwell