I recently heard John Maxwell talk. He said that a crisis will reveal who you are, what you value and what you believe. I thought about these 3 things in relation to what I witnessed with 1 particular team I have been working with over an 18-month period prior to lockdown and this is what it revealed. Let’s call them Leader L & team.
- A crisis reveals who you are: Just as orange juice comes out of an orange when you squeeze it, what comes out of you when you are squeezed under pressure reveals what’s inside you. Are you stress, fear and anxiety or hope and encouragement? A crisis reveals who we are when we are most fragile or vulnerable. So when I look back at Team M and how they responded through the crisis, this is what I witnessed:
- Every engagement and conversation was held with care, respect and support;
- Their communication was always clear and transparent and when it wasn’t, they were quick to change it;
- Leader L with his team looked at what the people and community needed first and how they could help;
- They had been doing the work on being effective leaders and what that would look like and when the time came to rise to the occasion, they did;
- At the core of who they are is the concept of Ubuntu and that came through loud and clear;
How about you? Who are you? As a leader, how have you been showing up? And what actions have you taken or will you take? If this time has revealed you have work to do that’s okay. Decide who you want to be and start working on becoming that person.
- A crisis reveals what you value: How you spend your time during a day reveals what you value. How you spend your money reveals what matters most to you. Where you invest your energy demonstrates what you are focused on. During a crisis, when resources often become more scarce, what you value becomes even more clear, providing an opportunity to take stock.
Leader L and his Team had started their personal and team development journey nearly 18 months prior to lockdown, virtual sessions were new, times were uncertain and they could have easily said, let’s wait for the lockdown to be over before we continue our journey, but they didn’t – they value being the best leaders they can and were willing to put their money where their mouth is:
- They were one of the first teams to jump onto zoom and talk about their leadership and what’s required now,
- They challenged themselves and what needs to change and
- They continued learning, growing and focussed on supporting their respective teams and encouraging them;
What do you value most right now? Where are you investing your time, energy, money, and resources? Do you need to make any changes?
- A crisis reveals what you believe: You may think you believe something but only through a crisis will you discover if you truly believe it. I’m sure there have been many moments since March last year where we have been tested. For Leader L & Team, it was clear that they believed in:
- Safety comes first was not just on face value – they did everything they could to support not only their employees, but their employees families and the broader community they come from.
- That their most important assets are their people
- And that through it all, we can act with courage and humility
So through it all, like most of us, Leader L and team have endured the uncertainty of their business, ambiguity of what this pandemic has unleashed on us, dealt with losses in their work families, immediate families, and extended community. I’m in no way saying it was easy but they had the tools, support and awareness to know differently and then act differently, which makes all the different to how they come out of this, stronger, having grown through it!
When we go through challenge, the work we have already done supports through the crises we find ourselves in.
This is what Leader L & team did and continue to do: (not just say it)
- Used the definition of a high performance team to guide the what and how of their actions
- They started developing a learning culture by making their Individual & Team Development a priority with a consistent cadence
- Development was linked to business priorities and was included on the team meeting agenda
- Integrated discussions on business performance and development opportunities
- Created a platform for open and transparent dialogue within the team to challenge the status quo
- They held each other accountable and supported each other’s individual development
- It is leader sponsored but peer led
I’ve seen people, companies and teams thrive during this time because of the work we have done together and as a result I am more passionate than I have ever been about developing positive leaders & teams. I believe in this work.
What do you believe? Is it serving you? Do you need to change what you believe in order to create a better result?