Navigating crisis is not for the faint of heart, but what it takes to see your team through crisis is true, authentic leadership.
Crises are humbling. They unmask imposters and reveal dormant strengths.
During COVID-19, many leaders navigated unrelenting and unchartered territory from their bedrooms, not their boardrooms. Some found themselves uttering previously unspoken words like “I don’t know,” “unprecedented,” “new normal,” or “pivot.”
I was fortunate to have a front-row seat on leadership behavior during the pandemic while serving on crisis task forces for my clients (C-suite leadership teams at globally recognized brands). Aided by videoconferencing technology, I observed vastly different leadership responses to the pandemic. As I worked with diverse teams, I asked senior leaders to share insights on strategies, successes, mistakes, and lessons learned during the pandemic.
In the months that followed, I spoke with more than 140 remarkable leaders (clients and their colleagues) who navigated chaos, lockdowns, re-openings, and more. These leaders stewarded for-profit, nonprofit, and public safety organizations. They included CEOs and Presidents of companies like Target, Verizon, Kohl’s, Microsoft, Mercedes-Benz, Marriott, Farmers Insurance, Dairy Queen, Zappos, United Way, and the Salvation Army.