Leadership in Times of War

It is a fact that we are all feeling the effects of the war on this pandemic – personally in our families and the upheaval in our “normal” schedule and life and as leaders who are leading our organizations through the uncertainty.  Each of us has unique leadership strengths that we can lean on during these times – it is crucial to lead authentically in our strengths, but there are also some key leadership actions that you need to focus on no matter what kind of leader you are.

1. Understanding the Basic Human Needs

You need to understand and manage around people’s basic human needs.  During this time of uncertainty, the basic needs of all of us as humans are not being met.  Leaders can help their teams maintain a higher level of performance by focusing on how to meet some of their human needs during this time.  See our blog, Meeting our 6 Basic Human Needs during this Time of Uncertainty  for more ideas.

2. Turn on the light at the end of the tunnel

For many of us as leaders, we are dealing with the same uncertainty and stress as our teams, but as leaders, we have to find a way to rise above during these times.  We have to manage the obstacles right in front of us, but we also have to make sure we are still thinking strategically for when this is all over, because it will be over at some point, and we need to be ready.  Our competitive advantage during this pandemic is to make sure when things take off, we are in the blocks with our shoes tied and not caught on our heels when our competition starts running.  It is our job as leaders to ensure our teams see the light at the end of the tunnel.  We don’t need all the answers, but we need to be the ones predicting as best we can to provide them the vision that they desperately need right now.

3. Clean your house

No, I don’t mean your actual house – although you do have plenty of time for that right now.  I mean your work “house”.  All those process improvements, cross-training, system changes, training ideas that we have been talking about for years but have been to busy to focus on – NOW is the time.  Engage your team in innovation conversations about how we can get better internally so we are prepared to come out of the gates strong when business picks up again.  We can provide our teams opportunities to grow and think differently now because they have time and it will help them maintain a higher level of performance when their brains are stimulated.

4. Manage your mental health

I think we are all gaining a different understanding of mental health during these times.  It used to have a stigma of people who were severely depressed, needed medication, that had mental health issues, but now we are all understanding that mental health affects all of us when we are stressed and the world around us is so uncertain.  As leaders, we must manage our mental health so we can show up when our families and our teams need us.  It doesn’t mean that every day is great, but now is the time to create a practice of self-care that can help you manage through the toughest of days.  Check out our blog, Self Care during Difficult Times for some guidance on getting started.

Leadership is valuable in times of peace, but Leadership is REQUIRED during times of war.  We are in a time of war, and as leaders we need to double down on our approaches to LEAD, and not just manage ourselves and our teams through this.