Yes, it’s the week of Christmas and I’m going to do a 3-part series on leadership lessons from COVID field hospitals. Why? Because there may be some nuggets in here that are going to help you deliver in 2021. And I know you, you are always thinking about your business. Pushing yourself and your business forward. So listen to me this week, remember these episodes are always here. And when you are ready to grab these ideas and execute on them, they are waiting on you.
So let’s dive in. Richard Bohmer and team wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review about the top 10 leadership lessons we can take away from those COVID field hospitals. I read it, because I have an affinity for healthcare as you know, and after reading it, I agree. These are 10 traits or actions we can take, no matter our industry. So today I am going to cover three of them.
- Publicly acknowledge the uncertainty. Man this was a good one. Just admit that we don’t know what is going to happen. Remember, people are looking to you as the leader of either your team or the business itself. People will feel certain when you show them certainty. But if you don’t have it, just admit it. “We don’t know if this will work but we are going to give it all we have, I need you staying close to the numbers to tell us if it’s working or not because we have to pivot fast if it’s not.” Would you respect someone less or more for leading like that? I would say more.
- Focus the search. What that means is that once you acknowledge the uncertainty you can’t let your teams live in that world. You have to tell them what they need to do to be part of the solution. In the example I gave you above I said, “I need you looking at the numbers such that if we fail we do it fast so we can recover and try something else.” That’s the search. Tell everyone what they need to be doing. What is their priority, where do they need to focus, so they know their role and they know what the most important work they need to do.
- Delegate authority. What that means in your world is stop worrying about titles and look at who has the skillset to help with this specific problem. Maybe you are trying a new tactic in your customer success area. You may have someone on the front lines so to speak that has great experience, having done something similar in another company. Have that person have the authority to weigh in, provide guidance, etc. If you want success in an unknown situation, empower people to do what they know and what they are experts at. Don’t hold them back based on title, level in the organization, or time with the company. Be one team and solve the problem. At the same time, be clear as to what their role is, what they can and cannot do, etc.
These are the first 3 of 10 leadership lessons we can take from COVID field hospitals. They did this, unsure if the hospitals would work but made it clear as to what the work was at the time, who could do what, who had what authority, and they made it happen successfully.
How do you take these 3 and apply them to your business if you aren’t already?