April 2020

Will This Be Your Moment of Greatness?

by Ed Ruggero

"Leaders are at the top of their game when they act from their deepest values and instincts."
Robert E. Quinn
Moments of Greatness

When Mark House, a director at The Beck Group, a nationwide engineering and construction company, started watching Governor Andrew Cuomo's daily briefings on the Covid-19 pandemic, he was looking for information. Mark quickly realized he was witnessing a leader at the top of his game when it comes to communication.

"You can tell he's speaking from the heart," Mark said of Cuomo. "He's calm, but still lets his emotions show, and if he doesn't know something, he says so."

Mark was inspired to reach out to his own boss, CEO Fred Perpall, suggesting that Fred might want to offer some tools, via short videos, to leaders within the firm who would be facing tough questions and tougher choices in the days ahead. The result was a set of eleven clips that covered topics such as:

Fred, who is a student of Academy Leadership's Personal Leadership Philosophy, emphasized the organizational value Caring, which he called, "my favorite," saying it was essential in the face of current challenges. "This is a time to lead with your heart," he said. "Call each other more often. Check in more often. Use our video tools...to be present with each other...Have more dialogue, not less. Over-communicate."

Mark was not surprised that Fred started by talking about the importance of caring for team members as people.

"That's a glass ball," Mark said. "You can't drop that. If you don't care about people, you've got nothing."

Our teams are stressed. Individuals are worried about what's going to happen next. We are all adjusting to different working conditions—or to having no work at all. This is absolutely the right time for leaders to strive for clarity, not just about fundamental values, but also about how you want the team to operate now.

If you have written your Personal Leadership Philosophy, you already have a communications tool to clarify your beliefs about leadership, your core values and your expectations. Sharing your leadership philosophy with your team invites them into a dialogue about how the team functions and how it can function better. Since so many of our working norms have been upended, this is the perfect time to invite all hands to brainstorm about the best way forward.

If you've not taken the time to really think through who you are as a leader and what you stand for, now is a good time to begin. Try our Virtual Leader's Compass Workshop. Chances are you already have ideas about what makes good and bad leaders. Make a commitment to yourself and your associates about the kind of leader you will be. This pandemic, with the shock waves it has sent though the business world, can become a moment of greatness for you and your team.

Ed Ruggero is the co-author of The Leader's Compass: A Personal Leadership Philosophy Is Your Foundation For Success. He is also the creator of and facilitator for the Gettysburg Leadership Experience.