When we talked about this element in the original article 9 Elements to Assure Your Leadership Brand Resonates in Time of Crisis, the last line of Retain Presence is where we begin this piece. It’s much easier to be present and productive when we know we don’t have to be perfect.
Entering into this time from what for many felt was an ‘always-on’ environment, we have now been thrust into an always present world. As a recent Forbes article pointed out, we’re living a more intense life adding to it an increase in video conference meetings. Serving as a replacement for traditional face-to-face meetings, we are now intently focused on the many faces only a couple of feet from our eyes, commanding our leadership presence in an entirely new way.
“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”
~ Pablo Picasso
3 Tips to Help Retain Presence
Although this crisis has forced us to draw upon skills that perhaps were underutilized prior, it’s important that we continue to build upon these behaviors well beyond this storm. As you eventually return to your place of work, utilizing the 3 tips below will help you retain presence and leverage your leadership brand for the new business world ahead:
Maintain Frequent Check-ins:
There is no instant switch that will allow people to leave all of this behind. Recognize that the emotional toll this has taken on people may run deeper than you can see. Returning to work and processing what has taken place should be viewed more like a dial, subtly turned to adjust and brighten, little by little. Maintaining the connecting points and frequency that you established as the crisis set in will be important. People need to know that your level of interest and concern in their personal and professional well-being hasn’t waned.
Could you have answered this question without hesitation prior to this pandemic? What’s Most Important Now? For most leaders the answer is no. Many organizations would spend months debating this question before formulating strategic plans that took more time to rollout, often to less than ideal year-end results. One thing has become clear during this unprecedented time: Without hesitation, people are looking to leaders who can clearly answer that question with a firm YES. As we move beyond this moment, it’s critical that leaders continue to demonstrate this level of decisive clarity and that employees are empowered, and encouraged, to do the same.
Model the Path Forward:
Few businesses will return to the normal we knew before. Business models will have changed, customer behaviors and preferences will have evolved, and how we approach our daily routines will be different in many ways. The strategic plans that started the year are likely obsolete. People need visionary, agile leaders now more than ever - leaders who will boldly set the path forward, make the case as to why ‘this is the way’ now, and inspire followership and action.
We don’t know what will be different, but we can be certain that transformational change will have occurred. We have already been challenged in ways we never could have imagined. Retaining presence as outlined here will not only strengthen your leadership brand, it will also demonstrate what leadership in practice should really be about, through good times and bad.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kim Bohr is COO and Head of the Effective Organizations practice at Waldron. Kim’s professional mission is to make organizations better from the inside out by helping leaders create alignment between people, processes, and an organization’s guiding principles.