In the face of abundance, departments grow, resources flow and leaders abound. Leaders happily provide direction, set goals and align resources. In the face of adversity, however, when providing direction, setting goals and aligning resources becomes critical to the bottom line ability of an organization to survive and people to thrive, leadership can be in such short supply.
Take a Look Around
Take a look at leadership interactions occurring right now within your organization. What do you see? Do you see proactive problem solving and collaboration? Do you see resources being shared and priorities being reestablished? Do you see voluntary reassignment of work, identification of non-critical functions and thoughtful give-and-take conversations? Or do you see something very different?
There is a distinction between encumbering a leadership position and providing leadership and, in the face of adversity, the difference can be painfully clear.
The Squeeze Is On
A leader's true colors show when times are tough. Organizations do not need people in leadership positions who duck and hide, wait to see what others are willing to do before they share their options, or who staunchly defend their department, function, or role over all others. Nor does an organization need those who are reactionary, defensive or unwilling to accept responsibility and accountability.
What does an organization need? The hr bartender captured what is needed when she wrote:
"What we need right now is calm, level-headed leadership. And, as a leader, the last thing you should be doing right now is passing blame."
True Leaders Emerge
Leadership is tough in good times and that much more difficult in the face of adversity. There will be disagreements, tense moments and lots of give-and-take. There will be changing plans, shifting priorities and resistance of others. There will be good decisions, there will be bad decisions and very few decisions will be easy. Leadership is not nirvana. Leadership is engagement.
Take a look around and notice the ones who are engaged - those are your true leaders.