Adelphean Compass: Leadership Concepts in a Pandemic Reality Part III

June 26th, 2020
Filed Under: Adelphean Compass

by Tammie Pinkston — Past International President

Part Three – Leading with Action

As a leader, you may be considered the “chief decision-maker”, at least for your area(s) of responsibility.  Some of us make decisions quickly, moving forward when you find an acceptable course of action (aka “satisfying”) not necessarily the optimal, single best answer (aka “maximizing.”) 

Research the different characteristics of decision making within decision making theory.  Understand what type you are and if the type changes in different circumstances.

In most situations, unless it involves life or death, there are multiple options available.  In the immediate situation we saw with COVID-19, there was a brief period where leaders (at many levels) were on pause, waiting to better understand the severity and duration of the pandemic.  It has been a good reminder that most organizations have energy/momentum of their own.  However, that momentum is not always sustainable for long periods of time. Especially when external factors are changing the outcomes for the organization.  We have witnessed this and felt a plethora of impacts as a result.  With every decision, there is an impact or ripple effect. 

Take a moment to reflect on how a decision you made led to ripple effects.  What might you have done differently to minimize the impact?  If you don’t have examples, think through the decisions that you have seen during this pandemic and the impacts they have created. 

In the last several weeks, we have defined new way of interacting – virtual meetings and collaboration.  But some have been paralyzed, perhaps by the level of ambiguity and amount of change happening all around us.  If you fall into the latter category, it is imperative that you define actionable steps that can be accomplished and allow you to feel some sense of control.  Communication is critical to inform, calm and support.  Remember, in the absence of well-managed communications, people create the narrative; this often promotes inaccurate information and rarely maintains calm and control.

This is also a good time for you to collaborate with others who can process the situation and keep their complementary areas of responsibility moving forward.  As the leader, you are expected to manage multiple areas of responsibility that should create synergy and integrated outcomes. Lean on your team to define achievable plans and hold them accountable, a key aspect of your role as the leader.  Delegation is hard, but absolutely essential in your role as a leader.  Not only can we not do everything ourselves, but a key responsibility of leaders is developing others. 

Have you pulled tasks/activities back when you should have delegated and encouraged others to complete and participate?  What kept you from delegating effectively? 

Allow your team to do their jobs and ensure that everyone does what they say they will do — especially you.  Don’t overcommit. Define courses of action that can be completed, even in small steps.  Think about commitments you have recently made.  Rate yourself on your level of accomplishment.  If actions were left undone, why was that?  What can you do to ensure that actions are completed, not moved on your next “to do” list. 

Lead by example by empowering your team and delegating as needed.  As you delegate and monitor team progress, keep in mind that these are challenging times for us all.  Be cautious not to lean too heavily on those who may appear to have fewer responsibilities (e.g. self-quarantining alone) or are part of the communities affected (Black, Indigenous, and sisters of color.)  Although they may not have children to homeschool or a spouse to consider, they are processing different aspects of the pandemic. And you should be weary not to make them do more emotional labor or tokenize them. You may observe unusual or different behaviors in your team members and adjustments will be needed.  This will be a function of your relationships, which we will talk about in Part Four – Leading with Relationships.