How to lead through a crisis

They say you have to lead by example. Work how you want others to work. Set the tone. Inspire others. But by its very definition, leadership is not the same as management, and management is not the same as operations, so I’ve always thought that while this might be the case in sports, it’s not correct for business.

When lockdown 1.0 happened, I had around 200 employees. About half were in the office and the other half were contractors and staff working from home. The fear was palpable and as a live events company there was a very real possibility that our business could be decimated.

Do not panic

Having never experienced a pandemic lockdown before, I did what most entrepreneurs would probably do. I preached by example. I got up earlier, worked later. I rolled up my sleeves and helped where and where I could, in all areas of the business. After all, if it didn’t, we might not have any business left.

I got involved in sales, marketing, customer service, finance, administration, and human resources, and worked as hard as anyone. Get up at 3 am to work, work late, and then repeat. We got through the lockdowns and in many ways our business got better and stronger.

But let me ask you this. If you are the captain of the ship and there is a fire in the engine room, do you run with the rest of the crew to put out the fire? Well, I did, because that’s what leaders do, right? They lead by example. So who’s steering the ship? How do you stay on course? Do you really need one more pair of hands to put out the engine fire while there are no hands on the wheel?

lead from the front

Because I was in the engine room feeling the heat with the rest of my team, our culture was completely lost. No one could remember our vision. No one had any idea of ​​our strategy, our mission, our values, and everyone was scared running around in panic throwing buckets of water everywhere. They had no one to guide them because the guide was “leading by example.”

should have done my worked. And my job is not her job. He should have led by leading, not by example. I shouldn’t have worked harder, I should have worked smarter. Instead of being busy doing, he should have been less busy thinking. Less administration, more strategy. I should have parted ways with mass fear and panic, which meant less, not more time in trading. More time with mentors who have been through the cycles. More time studying history. More time working on the culture, stating and reaffirming the vision and mission.

A great company, like a great sports team, will have a varied tactical and cultural mix. A diversity of people and positions, roles and responsibilities, and everyone in the organization must have their key result areas (KRAs).

The best way to lead is not by example, but by doing your job. And to do your job well, you don’t need to be distracted by doing other people’s work, and you need to know what your real job is.

Much of leading by example is simply for show. Look at me doing a good job here. It is a posture, superficial and it is seen that he is working instead of doing his job. Great leaders know their jobs and they know that their jobs are unique, and that the best way to lead is to do their jobs well, and by doing their jobs well, empower and enable everyone else to do their jobs well.

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