During the current Covid-19 crisis, articles praising the leadership skills of different people in the economy and the political area are published on a regular basis. For example has Forbes published an article on the countries led by women, who have shown so far the best response to the virus.
But not only was the focus set on women leaders and their emphatic responses and actions in light of the current virus crisis. Another article by Harvard Business Review has shed some light on good leadership skills from Jacinda Arden, the Prime Minister of New Zealand and Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association.
Reading these articles, it became clear to me that leadership skills do not only apply to leaders and how people are led by them in crisis. Leadership skills can equally be applied to each and every one of us when “leading” our own careers.
So, how can you lead your career like one of these successful leaders?
Jacinda Ardern and Adam Silver are both great leaders who were able to understand and grasp the pandemic in the early days. They have been decisive, clear in their action and have shown compassion for their people. Let’s have a closer look at these leadership skills and how we can apply them to our own career.
When faced with ambiguous threats, people tend to wait for more information and clarity before making a decision. However, not being decisive leads to wasting time that could be vital. Therefore it is important to take decision and revisit them on an ongoing basis, acknowledging that mistake can happen and the course have to be corrected. Consequently, making decision puts one in control of the situation.
The same applies to your career. In control means, being able to decide fast on opportunity that arise without needing to wait for more clarity. In other words, if you are clear about your careers values, vision and goals, you are in control. This allows you to make the right decisions when you are faced with opportunities, even if you don’t have all information. As described in the article, these leaders jumped ahead, taking decision without having all the information, adjusted the course when required and were therefore able to take control.
A clear plan to share
Whenever Arden and Silver communicated to the people, they were transparent about the plan and shared it as detailed as possible and needed. As New Zealand’s Primes Minister Jacinda Ardens actions showed, she transparently communicated the plan and yield the support by being honest. People were clear, what is coming and not take by surprise when drastic measures were taken.
Accordingly, having a clear plan on how you want to build and lead your career is of great advantage at any time. Even more important is it to share this plan with your future or current employer. Your transparency and ability to display a great sense of sharing will allow your employer or superior not only to trust your actions, but also allows to put you forward when great opportunities arise.
Taking actions to missteps
Nobody is perfect! So even a leader will encounter failure and have to deal with problems that arise based on their decisions. More importantly, however, is the way a leader reacts to such missteps and are taking corrective measures. Even Adam Silver had to deal with criticism, which he publicly accepted as valid.
In your career, you don’t need to go as far as going public with missteps. Still, showing that you have had missteps in your career and making them known, will help you to showcase to future employers or superiors how you dealt with difficult situation. The way you react to a missteps shows a lot more competency and skills such as problem-solving than trying to avoid them. Remain focus on your goals and vision rather than becoming defensive or blaming yourself for the misstep.
Engage and update
The pandemic brought every day new findings, problems and updates that made it difficult to staying on course. Leaders had to adjust almost daily and had to learn fast how new information can impact their decisions. Not only was it for them important to update constantly, they were also reaching out to advisors seeking their opinion to find the best response.
The same is valid for your career. Although you might not need to engage and update on a daily basis. Changes to your personal life, for instance, might required that you change the course of your career. And this is perfectly fine! Find yourself a mentor, an advisor, a colleague or a superior who is able to provide you a different perspective to your situation. Seek opinions and expertise from others helping you to deal with the new information or situation.
Finding the right people to provide you guidance and advise might not always be easy. You might want to check out our newly set up Mentor Matching program here to get support.
It starts with you
Being a great leader starts with you! Leading your own career will help you develop leadership skills that will be required once you want to lead a team or even your own company. But most of all, leadership means to never loose sight of your values, vision and goals.