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Do you think the executive that leads your company is telling you everything?
Of course not.
And it has nothing to do with deception. Nor does it have anything to do with you personally. Not at all.
It has everything to do with leading a group of people through territory that your leader has never, ever been through before and will most likely never go through again.
Nobody was ready for this. How could they have been?
Leading during the COVID-19 crisis is beyond difficult. In fact, a recent executive I know who leads a massive company said, “Nothing in my education, my MBA, or all my years of leadership had plan for this type of crisis.”
And let me tell you friend, I don’t care how strong or confident you are as a leader, COVID-19 has left all of us feeling vulnerable. And to push a little further … if we were completely transparent … COVID-19 has left us feeling a little bit scared at times.
Scared, not because we think we will soon be on the soup lines from lost jobs. Scared really more from knowing that the decisions of an entire organization or a company is on your shoulders. Scared from knowing that whatever you’re doing, you’re rolling the dice. And you don’t want to be wrong because there are real families that each of your employees represent.
A Front Row Seat
My church sits in the highly professional culture of Williamson County, Tennessee.
ClearView is a church full of professional men and women with great hearts and huge desires to lead people and their companies well. And I’m telling you, as I speak with business pros in my church fellowship weekly, many of them are strained to the maximum emotional limits right now.
They are sleep deprived.
They are fed up with Zoom calls and Microsoft Team Meetings.
They are watching the financials daily with surgical precision. Many are laying off people they call dear friends. Many of your senior leaders are watching their companies ride the crazy train that could end up at the train station called Bankruptcy.
So the real question is … how can you be the best team player in a situation where no matter which road we take, the prefect road doesn’t exist?
How can you help our company’s emotional culture stay positive?
How can you help our company’s business move forward by helping those at the top of our company get through this thing and still not lose their mind in the process?
Noticeable Trends Among Business Leaders
Because I speak with business professionals daily, I’m starting to notice some patterns in their speech.
So I thought I’d share some of those encounters with you.
Please know, none of these statements are direct quotes.
They are just summaries, baselines really, of what I’m hearing from many professional leaders around Williamson County, Brentwood, Greater Nashville, and even throughout America.
How You Can Keeping Your Company Moving During COVID-19?
Be A Champion In Patience
Perhaps the greatest frustration executives and mid-level management leaders are facing right now is that the rules of the game are changing literally on a daily basis.
Your company’s leaders are facing what is truly one of the most difficult parts of COVID-19 when it comes to leading a business… they are trying to make strategic plans – on a weekly basis to pull through this thing – and yet the target moves every time they are ready to make a decision.
It is mentally exhausting.
Friend, for anybody, that’s just tough. It’s insanely difficult to keep a level head when we are all sleep deprived, emotional, and weary.
So, if you really want to build a legacy within your organization, be a champion in patience.
Trust The Leadership
I cannot tell you how many executives and mid-level managers I speak with who are feeling this very issue on the deepest levels.
Because those who are in top levels of leadership are sincerely doing the best they can do in an impossible situation.
Be sure you realize, too, that they do not want to be wrong.
Those who are in leadership roles during COVID-19 want to get it right. They don’t want the company, or the people in the company, to suffer.
Trust that they are doing their best every day to figure out the a solid path to recovery.
Speaking of trust here’s something else that can help you with being a better truster …
Realize You Don’t Know What They Know
Those leading your organization right now are digesting far more – far, far, far more – information and data than you could imagine.
I’m going to take a small bit of personal freedom here because I think it’s a solid example of what I learned living between (2) worlds of those in executive leadership and the employee on the front lines of a business.
I reported to Governor Lee and watched him lead the company along with now CEO Richard Perko.
Both of these men are dear friends of mine and men I respect with intense admiration.
And while I learned a massive amount of life-changing leadership truths from observing Governor Lee and Richard Perko, if there was one constant where I held a front-row seat, it was in watching how the average employee was working off of very limited knowledge about any situation, while simultaneously, watching those in executive leadership using massive amounts of data to make a decision about that very situation the company was facing.
Do you see the contrast?
Simply put: those in leadership are privy to far more information about the situation than you are – and – they are using that information the best way they can.
Honestly, it’s easy to forget that.
Yet do remember: they are not going to reveal all of that to you.
It just takes far too much time, and it stagnates the organization’s ability to move forward in a crisis.
True, a great executive will be equally great in communication.
Transparency is key at all times, especially in a crisis.
However, those who lead businesses and organizations are having to think through large amounts of data as to how they are going to move the organization forward.
And they don’t have the luxury of the time it takes to have a town hall meeting where every voice can be heard on decisions needing to be made.
So, when they come to you with a plan, you can trust the fact that they have thought through the angles using the information they had at the time.
Don’t miss that!
They are doing the best they can … with the information they have … in the moment.
And that’s all they can do.
Now – Not Later – Is The Time To Put Your Best Work Into Motion
Your leaders are trusting you, too, believe it or not!
I’ve heard many leaders tell me something to the effect of “I really want my people to know how much I need them. I need our people to do their best work. I’m counting on them to be at their best.”
They truly are trusting that you are creating your best work even though most of the world is working from home right now.
The leaders in your company need you. They need your muscle. They need your talent. They need your creativity.
If you want to make a difference in your company’s history, be the one person who decided to solve problems … instead of create them.
If you want to build a reputation for being a legend, then find solutions and put them into action.
Legends choose to solve instead of complain. Legends make the choice daily to reach deep within themselves and meet a customer’s needs. Legends invent simple ways to keep the fun alive in the office space where a heavy soul is the new normal during COVID-19.
You can start legendary work … and you don’t have to wait until tomorrow.
Be Specific About Praying For Your Leaders
I don’t know that I’ve ever met any human being who rejected someone praying for them. I’ve never in my life heard, “Hey don’t you dare pray for me!”
Right now, you have a real opportunity to ease the emotional pressure cooker your leaders are facing by simply telling them how you are praying for them specifically.
And I’d encourage you not to do that in an email. They are overloaded with email.
Truthfully … I find them at the end of the day, go to their office, or FaceTime them, and just tell them, “Hey I’m praying for your rest when you go home each night.” Maybe you simply ask them, “How do I pray for you, specifically, in the next few weeks?”
You’d be stunned at how few people are checking in on the emotional health of those that are leading companies or organizations right now. Many of your leaders feel as if they are walking through the desert, at night, alone.
In a time where people are emotionally weary and feeling pressure that is unprecedented, leaders have very few people taking a few minutes to check in and speak some love into their lives.
The Bible says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” [James 5:16]
I’m telling you, knowing that someone you know and work with daily is praying for you in specific ways right now – it’s like oxygen to your life blood.
Want to take it one step further?
Gather at lunch with any employees who want to pray for the company.
Ask God to place His hand on those in leadership levels. You can take action like never before by calling on God to step into the situation at your company.
Imagine what might happen…
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About the Author: Jason Cruise is the Senior Pastor of ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN.