As we come to the end of 2020, perhaps one of the most difficult years of our lifetime, we’ve been pondering: “What does leadership NEED to look like in 2021?”  We have identified three essential, courageous actions we call upon leaders to adopt.

As we come to the end of 2020, perhaps one of the most difficult years of our lifetime, we’ve been pondering: “What does leadership NEED to look like in 2021?”  We have identified three essential, courageous actions we call upon leaders to adopt.

1.  Speak up even when doing so is risky.

Leaders must have a clear sense of their values and be willing to stand up for those values, even when doing so may be unpopular.   Effective leaders don’t shy away from initiating and engaging in difficult conversations that are necessary and inevitable.

In 2021, leaders will be called upon to make controversial, tough decisions that are likely to spark debate such as:  How will we address issues related to racial justice in a meaningful way that moves beyond virtue signaling?  When and how should we bring the workforce back to the office?  What practices adopted during the pandemic should we maintain and/or discontinue?

2.  Focus on the collective.

In 2021, effective leaders will focus their attention on making much-needed positive changes that can only be achieved through collaboration and collective action. 

If there is a silver lining to Covid, it may be that more of us now understand how deeply and inextricably linked we are as a worldwide human community.  The pandemic won’t be stopped through the actions of an individual.  It will be extinguished through the collective action of many — through masking and social distancing, through interdisciplinary research, through unique public-private partnerships, and through the collaborative development of effective vaccines. The only way to solve complex problems that require many people to change their behaviors is to tackle them together.

3.  Maintain fierce commitment to self-care.

Leading is hard, demanding work.  Self-care is not selfish.  Self-care is mandatory.  Overwhelmed, stressed-out leaders fail to inspire and are prone to faulty decisions. 

Our world is not “normal” right now, and the pandemic experience will have deep, lasting, and unknown implications for society for many years to come.  We need our leaders operating at their best to tackle the novel challenges ahead.

At the heart of these three actions is courage: the courage to speak up, the courage to collaborate and learn from others, and the courage to recognize and model the human need for rejuvenation.  May the new year be the year of courageous leadership!

If you are ready to build your courageous leadership skills, join us for a 2-day Dare to Lead™ workshop we are planning for April 2021. Click here to be added to our Dare to Lead™ distribution list.  We will send you details about the workshop once the date and location have been confirmed.

We still have spaces available in our open-enrollment Transforming Success® cohort that begins in January, click here to learn more.

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