Why not be a director?
Being a director is not for the faint hearted. It can be a full on, demanding and daunting role.
This may be the first time you have experienced a crisis of such magnitude – the scale, significance of the decision points and speed of change are challenging to the seasoned professional so if you are newer to governance, how do you provide leadership to your teams at such a time?
I have found it helpful to break it into three themes:
Courage looks like many things, it’s about stepping up. Let’s not confuse that with stepping in and becoming management. But amongst the noise, courage is a calm and considered perspective. Courage is also about:
Courage is never easy but it’s the courage to continue that counts.
The second theme is communication and for me, that is everything in a crisis. Consistent, clear and regular.
Just as a crisis will reveal strengths of management, likewise it will show the strengths of your colleagues and different leadership traits may arise at this time that you previously hadn’t seen. Maybe you need to work harder to pull out perspectives from someone normally only too willing to share a view.
It’s also important to hold the third theme throughout this journey – that is to be kind. The soft stuff matters always but especially at hard times. This is new, very challenging and for some, everything they knew prior to the 25 March has now gone.
While it’s easy to assume that leaders automatically step up with poise and courage, for some the sheer scale of juggling young children, aging parents, a partner whose job is now at risk all the while managing a massive workload, will be taking its toll. So remember, before you are too quick to expect more or judge someone you can usually rely on, perhaps check in first:
Two small words make an enormous difference at this time – making “thank you” part of your regular vernacular if it is not already, is vital. People who connect, those who take the time to understand and acknowledge the realities of what people are facing personally, people who thank another and acknowledge efforts, they are who will have a significant impact on culture and they are the same people who will reenergize someone to take on the next task.
Finally, just like a house of cards collapsing, while courage, communication and kindness give strength to our foundation, without a clock of mercy wrapped around yourself, things quickly collapse inwards so remember to take time to breathe and to be kind to yourself so that you can govern the business effectively.