"When life gives you lemons, make
lemonade.” Elbert Hubba

​As COVID-19 has put most of the Western world in lockdown,
managers, leaders and their teams are finding themselves with a
plethora of new challenges. People have to quickly adapt to working
from home, protect the physical and emotional well-being of
themselves and others, revamp businesses to better serve the public
and simply staying afloat.

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When a crisis hits it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, to let our
emotions run away with us and to get distracted by the many threats
and limitations we face. And whereas our physical safety will
always come first we have to be determined to not let fear dominate
us. Out of crises and extreme threats can emerge incredible
opportunities for individuals, organisations and for society as a
whole. As we navigate our way through uncertainty, we must seek not
just to overcome the crisis, but to learn and grow from it – and
that’s exactly what good leaders help us do.
Leaders always put people first
John Maxwell,
author of 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership says that during a
crisis, real leaders rise and become visible. They show up with
openness, honesty and clarity and they always put people first.
They ask What is best for the people? How can I lift them up? How
can I serve and help them get through the crisis and get better
from it?
With a solid focus on people, good leaders rise above the
circumstances and see into the future. Their ability to manage
their emotions helps them to stay focused and become ambassadors of
hope. The key is to keep fear at bay and to not get emotionally
caught up in the crisis. But how can the leader give hope to others
and show up with clarity when things are so uncertain? In spite of
not having all the answers and not knowing when the crisis will be
over, leaders can convey that this too shall pass. They also put
a great deal of effort into clearly communicating why they’re
making the decisions they are. Being clear, honest and authentic is
often more important than the decision itself.
Together we will find a way through
Maxwell
says that during a crisis people want authenticity more than they
want perfection. The leader needs to always tell the truth and stay
close to people. And it takes a great deal of courage to tell the
truth and admit to not having all the answers. The crisis is an
opportunity to set clear priorities, to leverage the team and to
convey that together we will find a way through. That’s what hope
is. Hope is saying that together we can make things better. It’s
not the same as optimism, which is simply the belief that things
will get better. It takes no courage to be an optimist but it takes
great courage to have hope.
During a crisis, great leaders stand out by inspiring people to
develop the right perspective. They help people focus on what
they can do and let go of what they cannot control. We cannot
control the external events of a crisis but we cancontrol our
choices and our responses. As Maxwell reminds us: When life
gives you lemons, make lemonade! It’s about getting the best
out of the situation and using our creativity to solve new
problems, to serve and to build wherever we can. This may be the
time to review existing practices, to forge new relationships, to
adapt and to innovate. Take this opportunity to put people first
and to send a message of hope. Together we can overcome this crisis
and we can make things better.

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