Questions, Questions, Questions

How are you folks doing out there in the virtual reality of our new normal way of life?  It is a fair question and if you are like me and those I know in my life, you are pretty tired of what is going on, how you are living, and what the future holds for you, your life, the lives of your children and grandchildren. 

In the month of January, I spent a great deal of time pondering things, reading, listening to podcasts, and those I trust and learn from on what the future looks like and how each of us fits into that future.  It is alarming that so many people are depressed, medicating themselves through all sorts of means, young adults dying by their own hands, and the unsure footing we find ourselves on.  I’d like to impart some of what I have learned.  This information is not political or religious it is just what I learned.

Since this is a leadership blog, for the most part, let’s start there.  What do the leaders of 2022 need, to become, and how to lead during this third year of lockdown [more or less], mandates, and the ever-changing climate of what is and what is not the rule of play in business, and in life? 

  • Leaders need “Timeless Principles”

These are the principles that have stood the test of time and do not change.  The “Timeless Principles” are the guide for a leader each day.

  • Leaders need “Timely Paradoxes”

These are the guidelines that guide our daily interactions.

I recently read and was on a Facetime Live event with the author of “The Eight Paradoxes of Great Leadership” by Tim Elmore. Tim spent 5 days teaching on these Eight Paradoxes.  His premise of the book is a leader must embrace the conflicting demand of today’s workplace.  How equipped do you feel to handle the conflicting demands of your workplace?

Daily we receive notices, laws, and other articles that are ever-changing in the demands a leader must work within, in their place of business, and how they are to carry out these conflicts with their employees and their customers.  This isn’t an easy job. Just ask anyone who runs a business today.  You can see the stress playing out on their faces. 

These leaders are confronted and in conflict with their vision for their businesses, and at the same time encounter their blind spots which often throw them off their game.  Mr. Elmore stated this: “Every challenge needs a leader.”  This might sound like the phrase we hear, “…jump and grow your wings on the way down…”  Many leaders may decide, you know I don’t know everything, I must act on what I know today, and move forward anyway.  Is this you?

The Great Exit of not just CEOs but leaders over the past two years is astounding.  You most likely have read all the stories and lists of those who just no longer wanted to face the daily grind of trying to navigate the pandemic atmosphere as it impacted businesses and careers around the world.   We now move into those who did step up and they are what you might call; “uncommon leaders”.  These folks embrace the need for visibility and for being invisible when running their companies and businesses.  They are training their employees to act through their own actions and in the times, they are absent from the workplace.

These uncommon leaders are a lesson in opposites it seems.  How so?  They must work and lead in an environment of shifting sand.  This causes them to be stubborn and at the same time open-minded.  Each challenge or struggle the uncommon leader faces causes them to adapt to keep moving forward.

We also see another kind of leader emerging and that leader is called a “radical leader”.  This leader forms a consensus with no compromise on values, is respected, knows the stakes are very high, the cause is important, and forgives when necessary.

I will close with this; today we have a contrast in leadership.  We have those leaders who are riding the way of the present trend and adapting on the fly when necessary.  This leader must have great energy, vision, stamina, and the ability to handle what is thrown at them each day.  On the other hand, we have a leader who is more traditional.  This doesn’t mean they cling to old ways with bare white knuckles., although sometimes they do; hoping that things [in the world of pandemic business] will change and go back to normal. These two types of leaders must be timeless, and timely at the same time.  This is no easy task, ask anyone who is living it right now. 

Max McKeown said this:

All failure is failure to adapt. All success is successful adaptation.

WOW!   Where do you find yourself today?   How are you leading?