6 Key Takeaways For Developing Leadership Skills Through A Crisis

Posted on February 18, 2021 by Bailey Crumpton. Tagged: Resources for Candidates, For Candidates, Resources for Entrepreneurs, For Clients

Updated Jan 2023

Like other significant events in global history, the pandemic marked a turning point of change that will reverberate through commerce, wellness, our health care systems, and reshape our relationship with technology. Developing leadership skills through this kind of monumental upheaval is about being nimble and ready for anything. The most successful leaders combine humility, service, creativity, and emotional intelligence masterfully to keep the gears turning and churning at their respective organizations.

Prioritizing your people and reevaluating your goals on a regular basis are tenants of good leadership skills, but how can you add onto your own skillset and foster leadership growth in others? In the world of tech, practical skills are highly sought after, but it’s the candidates that also nurture their soft skills and leadership techniques that impress clients and end up growing teams themselves. Starting with reasons to be positive in 2023, we'll also shed light on leadership and how it's changing.

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5 Reasons Why 2023 Is An Excellent Year For Growth, Leadership & New Goals

  • We have been building on community foundations that are even stronger than before the pandemic. Hardship certainly proves that people can band together, in a big way. Denver, and the entire Colorado community stepped up for the last three years to support workers, save local businesses, fuel new innovations, and keep moving CO forward. This atmosphere continues to be a prime space for letting those who lean towards leadership roles to step up and practice what it takes to realize visions, grow companies, and lean on their community for support during the process.

  • 2020 is over. Really, it’s over, but every year we still see the meme, "how does it feel that it's about to be 2023 you're still processing 2019?" 2023 is all about embracing the self and ownership over personal development. In the spirit of moving on, by now it's clear that part of development is acknowledging how far you’ve come, and reflecting on ways your leadership skills have already grown in spite of continued change. In this way, it’s easier to identify gaps and what other interpersonal skills need more work based on those experiences.

  • The global economy is still strong, the job market is still strong, and it will continue to recover despite fluctuation. In fact, CNN business recently reported that the US "capped off an extraordinary year for job growth," adding 223,000 positions in December. Though this most recent recession is not over, economic experts predict that technology developments in everything from healthcare to personal wellness to e-commerce to entertainment will continue to move job growth forward.

  • You’ve heard it a hundred times by now, remote work is not going anywhere, but we also did not predict the immense popularity of hybrid work models. Hybrid work continued to be a theme of jobs we worked in 2022, as well as remote and fully onsite roles. However your company approaches work, our new reality of greater work-life balance also means people will be more productive (up to 20% in certain jobs). Going to the office again may feel even more invigorating and intentional when we do return, as in-person meetings will be carved out for collaboration and brainstorming, something to look forward to.

6 Key Takeaways Of What We've Learned About Leadership

If you made it this far, thanks for indulging our moment of why you should look on the bright side this year. There are always reasons to seek the positives, and part of being a great leader is stretching those muscles to help remind others of why no situation is hopeless or unfixable. On the contrary, refer to #2 and know if we made it through last year, it’s only up from here. Exercise patience and compassion, as the situation is evolving by the hour, with new developments every week. Strong leaders make decisions with conviction, and are quick to determine what matters most and weigh the information available for making that decision. The following 6 points will can help keep leaders flexible and authentic.

  1. Avoid cognitive overload.
    • Difficult circumstances caused by a crisis like the pandemic can cause “analysis paralysis.” Emotions run high, information may be incomplete or convoluted, and priorities may clash among leaders. Keep breaking through the inertia to have honest conversations with yourself and your team. Lean on quick decision-making and shorter-term goals to narrow down what’s most important.

  2. Find where there can be trade-offs.
    • Once you hone in on your top priorities, use them to organize your approach. Leadership and organization are closely linked, and without a clear vision, defining what’s urgent versus what’s important can be overwhelming. This line of thought can help you make tradeoffs in process to keep your team prioritizing the same goals.

  3. Think 360⁰ about cross-organizational impacts.
    • Work on your ability to think big picture, and how decisions impact interacting sections of your business, and how to better support your people. On what leaders need in 2021, global managing partner Kevin Sneader said “leadership capabilities are going to continue to shift toward embracing empathy and demonstrating leadership in its full sense, as opposed to the academic, intellectual, and visionary leadership that perhaps was given greater emphasis in the past.” Avoid working in silos, and be transparent.

  4. Embrace action.
    • Developing into an effective leader also means knowing when to delegate. Embrace action-oriented people on your team, and allow them to be their own decision makers. Mistakes will happen, but it’s also how people learn and grow. By empowering people on your team, you show that leadership involves trust and self-driven initiative.

  5. Be reflective, authentic, and approachable.
    • Be open about having difficult conversations, especially if those conversations could inform the trajectory of your business. One of the most challenging skills to sharpen is the ability to seek feedback in uncomfortable situations. What led us to this moment? How could we handle it differently in the future? How does reflecting now help us grow individually and as a team? Introspective individuals encourage others to be vulnerable, and in turn find ways to be better.

  6. And finally, don’t get stuck in a box.
    • No one puts baby in a corner, but really, narrow-minding thinking has likely ended many great things that could have been saved. Embrace the pivot, the creativity, brand new solutions, and humor even the slightest ideas that may arise on process improvement, remote work, or really anything within your organization. The pandemic has taught us that not only do leaders need to be flexible, but also look beyond their own industries to start new projects and partnerships. Don’t be afraid of thinking outside the box, and trying new ways of working within the community to gain traction and expand business development.

Final Thoughts On Leading Through Uncertain Times

In general, there’s no magic formula or multi-vitamin pack that can make great leaders over night. Many people possess qualities of great leaders already, but have not taken the time to examine how their skills could improve. When investing time in becoming a better leader, the organization as a whole benefits from simply putting more effort towards leadership and positivity. Whether you are a CEO or work on a small team, these tips can be incorporated into approaching our work with purpose.

People and businesses have shown a lot of bold innovation, resilience and resolve through recent layoffs and market volatility, and we are left with a sense of optimism that 2023 will bring even more opportunities for leaders to grow.

Here at BWBacon Group, we know and live what you are experiencing as an employer or job seeker in Denver, Boulder, Dallas, San Francisco, New York City or any of the other cities we work in. We believe great recruiting starts and ends with understanding people.

If you have any questions about living, working or playing any of the areas we serve, please contact us. We are happy to help. Seize the day, every day, that’s what we say!