Guest post from Vince Molinaro:
Publilius Syrus was a Latin writer who lived from 85 to 43 B.C. He wrote, “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” He got it right way back then. Anyone can lead when times are good, when the world is stable, and the sea is calm. It takes real and accountable leaders to lead in today’s and tomorrow’s world.
No truer words have ever been spoken and now in a world gripped by a global pandemic, all leaders will need to be stronger than they have ever been to lead us through the uncertainty and ambiguity we all face. In today’s complex world, leaders are being asked to step up in dynamic and unexpected ways.
But there is a problem. At a time when we need leaders to be stronger, they are not. Many leaders that I work with today tell me they are overwhelmed, disengaged, and underprepared for their roles and the challenges of these unprecedented times.
Unfortunately, many leaders are not equipped with the tools they need to lead under pressure. As a result, they fail to serve themselves and their employees effectively, and put the future of their entire organization at risk.
I conducted a LinkedIn poll a few weeks after the COVID-19 virus shut own the world. I was curious to learn about the experiences that leaders in my network were having. The top two challenges that came out on the top of their list was dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and coming to the realization that they would have to make some difficult business decisions. Ones that would impact the lives and careers of their employees. As the weeks and months have gone by, it seems these two primary challenges remain for leaders.
So how do you lead when your world has been upended?
I believe that the way forward is to focus on leadership accountability. It is and will always be what sets the truly great leaders apart from the rest.
There is a dual response that will be required: individual and organizational.
At a personal level, you will need to embrace leadership accountability. This means you will need to step up and demonstrate personal ownership for your leadership role. You will need to be deliberate and decisive in the way that you lead. You will also need to bring a sense of urgency, courage and resilience in how you lead every single day.
But there is more. You will need to go beyond yourself to hold others accountable for being leaders. You will need to build truly accountable teams. You will also need to play a role within and across your organization to build a strong leadership culture and community of leaders.
At an organizational level, you must work to make leadership accountability a priority within a company. Senior leaders will need to define clear leadership expectations for all their leaders. They must also do the hard work to sustain their momentum in building a both strong leadership culture.
Finally, they must invest the time to help leaders create a sense of community across the entire organization.
Vince Molinaro, Ph.D., (Oakville, Ontario, Canada) is Founder and CEO of Leadership Contract Inc and is an author, speaker, leadership adviser and researcher. His most recent book, Accountable Leaders: Inspire a Culture Where Everyone Steps Up, Takes Ownership, and Delivers Results, came out in June. Molinaro has helped create one of the leading brands in the Human Capital industry, working in several key sectors including energy, pharmaceutical, professional services, technology, financial services, and the public sector. He is the author of four successful books, Leadership Solutions, The Leadership Gap, The Leadership Contract, and the Leadership Contract Field Guide. His work has been featured in many of the world’s leading business publications, including The Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and The World EconomicForum.