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Issue #43: Leadership's got a Brand New Bag

Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant)
Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant)
“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.
Those types of leaders are the ones who are currently getting a taste of public shaming ala what Hester Prynne (or if you prefer Olive Penderghast ) as there has never been a brighter spotlight on Employer Branding and leadership character.
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.”
Trust is reliant on leadership courage. It is how we recognize the good.
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.
Why? Many reasons.
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”.

Leadership's Got A Brand New Bag
Leadership's Got A Brand New Bag
"Get Up! Get on Up!"
What The World Needs Now Is Leadership Courage
Ed Schein, MIT Professor, Explains Why We Need to Overthrow Today's Leadership Culture - Egon Zehnder
Why Do Women Make Such Good Leaders During COVID-19?
Why Fighting COVID-19 Requires Character | Ivey Business Journal
7 Leadership Lessons Men Can Learn from Women
Opinion | Are Women Better Decision Makers? - The New York Times
Putting People First: Leading in an Era of Constant Transformation – QAspire by Tanmay Vora
Highlights from Recruiting Brainfood's Marathon
Brainfood Marathon
Question: How are you recognizing the good you are seeing?
Leadership is coming together with the skills we have to impact the broader good. That is what I have been up to lately. Personally I am highly impressed with how folks are coming together. In addition to the marathon, I am proud to be taking part in the Braintrust group led up by Mike Hruska and L&D cares by Brandon Carson. Also, together with David Everhart, I am kicking off a senior executive level Working Group on Talent Management and Learning in the COVID-19 Era as well as personally offering up a program for leaders on #workingremotelybeing connected.
If you are interested in the initiatives / outcomes, and how they can help your organizations or teams, I am happy to jump on a call with you. Just let me know.
Wishing you well and sending all my best regards,
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Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant)
Elizabeth M. Lembke - Chief Talent Navigator (HR Consultant) @elizabethlembke

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Elizabeth Lembke, Transforming Talent Consulting: and