“Get up! Get on up! Stay on the scene … You are a Leadership Machine! Shake your money maker”
Hmm… am I perhaps misquoting James Brown
to force a point - that we need to “hit it and quit
” with the picture of Leaders as being of the mentality “its just business, it is not personal”. Leaders as inhuman machines, focusing only on the short-term bottom-line.
It is always personal - and particularly now it is.
Experts like Charlotte Marshall emphazize
that the “decisive wall between consumer and employer brand has shattered - it is the brand. People care more about the people behind a brand than ever before - and they care more about how you are treating your people
. People in COVID-19 Era will never forget how they feel when they have been treated badly…It is buyer-beware
. It used to be that we would only care about how a company treats their people when we were actively looking for a job. Now in these times, we all care about how employers are treating their people.” Her co-panelist, Bryan Adams says, like all of us in Leadership development know - “pressure reveals true character
The character piece shows up in how we trust our leaders - be they at a company, an organization, or country level. As Dov Seidman, of the How Institute for Society
states it “Great leaders trust people with the truth. And they make hard decisions guided by values and principles, not just politics, popularity or short-term profits. Great leaders understand that when so many vulnerable and scared people are so willing, so quickly, to put their livelihoods and even their lives in their leaders’ hands, and make sacrifices asked of them, they expect the truth and nothing but the truth in return. Leaders who trust people with the truth are trusted more in return. But you better not betray my trust — by not telling me the truth — when I have literally put my life in your hands.”
One aspect that has arisen in the conversation of proactive responses has been the discussion many of the leadership characteristics
commonly attributed to women
are the ones managing the situation comparatively better. These praises are particularly loud when it comes to sizing up how female
heads of state, like Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel
, are disproportionately
successful in their response
to the pandemic.
Some say it may be due to the Glass Cliff
, the Catch-22 effect that female leaders are more often subjected to than not. As Cami Anderson
explains it: “women are more likely to get their shot at being the big boss when there is a crisis. They are also more likely to be blamed for the crisis (even if it started before them) and to be criticized if there are negative consequences during a crisis (even if those consequences are inevitable). This is not true of men.” In other words, like the researcher, Dr. Abbie Griffith Oliver
speculates “perhaps women know they are damned if they do something and damned if they don’t, so they just do the right thing.”
Some other thoughts as to why some companies are performing much better, and are growing in positive recognition is due to their stronger commitment to ESG (environmental, social, and governance). It seems these companies have been outperforming the S&P 500
during this crisis.
“Companies with strong ESG ratings by definition have policies in place to: (a) protect the environment; (b) care about their employees, communities and customers, and maintain a high level of women in leadership; and © hold leaders accountable through rigorous management systems. The leadership skills ESG ratings reflect as the most effective are: Collaboration. Creativity. Resourcefulness. Being proactive. Preventing crises or keeping them from getting worse. Communicating. Listening. Strategic planning. Authenticity. Building trust. Transparency. Managing ambiguity. Relationship-building. Self-control. Teamwork. Focus on facts. Responsibility” according to Forbes
, Joan Michelson.
You do not have to be a female to do the right thing but there are some strong indicators that we maybe ought to be singing “Mama’s got a brand new bag” as we continue to navigate in this COVID-19 era.
“Right on, right on”.