We are in uncharted waters and during challenging times….people look towards those who have the titles or those in charge. They want someone to follow or believe in. For educators, as we know, everyone is a leader and so the possibility to have a spark to help those around us has great potential as there are many great educators who can provide that foundation.
In this blog post we focus on what is “The Focus of A Leader During A Crisis” that helps to support the people they serve and how they move their organization forward. It is important to note that during a crisis, change is constant. The COVID-19 crisis will change you and your school community. Also, typically a crisis will start with negative impacts. The challenge for a leader is how do they shift that to a positive impact by supporting others, providing hope, connections and strategies to grow from this experience. As George Cuoros shares, “Change is the opportunity to do something amazing”.
Here are key areas that reflect “The Focus Of Leaders During a Crisis”
- Leaders have Situational Awareness – This simply means that leaders understand the importance of anticipating possible questions/issues, being transparent with those they serve and adapting to the needs of others. Since change is constant in a crisis, this requires leaders to continually reflect, think and be working ahead about potential impacts and the solutions that would be needed to help others.
2. Leaders remember it’s about serving people – Leaders recognize they must help others feel supported, reduce their fear and help them feel valued for their efforts. It may be a virtual check in, handwritten notes in the mail, a phone call or even sharing a personal story of struggle-resilience and then success. They know their people and how to help them stay connected and focused on moving forward.
3. Leaders communicate effectively – Communication is always important for a leader but even more so during a crisis. People need clarity, transparency and consistent messaging. Leaders need to also remind their people that change happens so leadership may adapt as well. In other words, “how I lead today may be different than how I lead tomorrow”. When leaders lead with humility it also helps those they serve to feel a stronger sense of togetherness and connection.
4. Leaders lead with humility – As you recognize, people don’t buy into a vision, they follow the person first. This is paramount during a crisis. It is essential that leaders recognize they must connect with others in order for others to stay focused and follow the specifics. Leading with vulnerability and admitting we may not have all the answers but we are willing to work hard, lead our school and seek the input from others then it helps everyone to feel a sense of belonging .
5. Leaders focus on constructive change – A crisis will make everyone change and may cause significant adaptations to not only how schools operate but our way of life. As stated previously, we can either “go through an experience or grow through it”. Leaders use the above mentioned traits to help others and lead effectively by embracing technology, being creative to innovate new solutions and getting input from others. By using this mindset, leaders help their organization to actually develop and grow as a result of a crisis. It makes the system better, more agile and more united on the purpose of supporting others and meeting the needs of students. Leaders consistently remind themselves and others that we must focus on what we can control and focus our time, energy and resources on moving from what we were comfortable with to a pursuit of an unknown better. They challenge the status quo and take risk but in a way to help drive the school organization and others towards greater excellence.
An important part of leadership is action. True leadership occurs by intentional efforts when you work extremely hard to improve your own learning and that leads to an improved school. By reflecting upon “The Focus of Leaders during a Crisis”, you can self-analyze if you are spending efforts towards the important and right work during COVID-19. It is never too late to change or adapt to create something better. We owe that to our students and staff that we serve. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org