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  • Stephen Scott Johnson

Agility – Leadership resilience and wellbeing in times of crisis

There are three essential tenets to high-performance that shape my work with executive leaders and teams – awareness, agility, and accountability. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, the agility of every human on the planet is being tested. As such, all our efforts are focused on team resilience and wellbeing, ensuring clients have the essential resources and support to reduce risk and enable their people to thrive.


In my book, Emergent, I describe being agile as having grace under fire and the ability to move quickly and decisively in anticipating opportunity, while collaborating to avoid negative and even catastrophic consequences of change. Agile is clever, marked by a resourceful and adaptable character, and the ability to move with quick, easy grace. 


Almost every day I am asked how to balance being an inspirational and compassionate leader whilst driving performance, as well as how to keep teams engaged in a virtual context. Many people are treading water and in the absence of certainty it’s important to remember that leadership doesn’t mean having all the answers, or that you are exempt from fear. Rather, project calm and put your own needs aside in order to truly listen to your team, and they will tell you what they need to feel supported and personally engaged. It goes without saying, now is not the time to be admonishing people for performance issues.

Here’s a five-point crisis leadership checklist to elevate team agility and resilience:

1. Be visible – It is essential to communicate the context for the decisions you make and for the actions you need to take. Abandon organisational hierarchies and engage with people directly to create assurance.

2. Set the tone – In a crisis everyone can play a leadership role, no matter how small. Align workflow daily and prioritise around a common purpose, with clear goals and objectives for each person in your team.

3. Be decisive – To galvanise a cohort you must be absolutely unwavering. This may result in bruised egos and people being upset with you, but don’t take it personally. Rather, authentically motivate and mobilise your team around a unified vision.

4. Demonstrate compassion – Integrity is the foundation of leadership and essential to keeping people engaged and reassured. More than ever, your team needs to know that you care, so be human and acknowledge their anxieties at a personal level.

5. Connect the dots – Think of your organisation as a living organism instead of a machine. We are living in an ever changing reality, with increased risk of ambiguity and loss of cohesion undermining operations. Honest and adaptive communication is key – listen and engage with people directly and discuss challenges and opportunity in an open forum.

More than ever, conscious leadership is vital. At the most basic level it means leading from a higher state of awareness, enabling you to find new and effective solutions to challenges while providing the four things most demanded of a leader: Trust, Compassion, Stability, and Hope. Focus on keeping your people safe and connected, and above all, lead with love.

Until next time,


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Melbourne 3000
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+61 4 998 884 990

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We support, encourage and respect diversity and equality.

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