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Leaders Serve Their Way Out of Crisis

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Maximize your leadership when it matters most.

By Philip J. Nicaud Jr.*

If you are the CEO, the founder, the executive of your business or organization, all eyes are trained on you right now.

This is good news, because rather than viewing it as an undue pressure, you can see it as an opportunity to lead with grace under fire. How will you handle today, tomorrow, next week, and the rest of the year as our world grapples with the outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic? I went to dinner with friends last week as part of the Legendary Leadership forum. On the ride back, I caught up on President Trump’s speech from the oval office, and my heart began to race. Fear overwhelmed me as I started thinking about what to cancel, postpone, and cut.

It took a second to refocus. And if you are of that same mindset, I invite you to hit pause with me.

Making decisions about how to stay healthy and safe, and helping the people around us do the same, is important. But operating in faith, dealing with reality, and charging ahead with power is the best way to walk this out with real leadership.

Leaders shine brightest in crisis. In the Marine Corps, we didn’t earn medals for training.

Everything we accomplished as Marines happened on the battlefield. You, too, can shine brightest during a crisis like this one. In my experience, there are three ways to do this.

First: Define the Crisis

Defining the crisis means not allowing the media or outside influences to do it for you.

You must define the crisis as a leader for your team, club, clients, and family. Coronavirus is a legitimate virus, a tsunami that has hit the world, but the larger part of this wave is panic and fear, fueled by misinformation. Is this a temporary wave? Or will it have real, long-term political, economic, and health consequences for us all? If so, how do you lead in the new world?

As the leader, you define the crisis and its implications.

Second: Develop Your Response

Based upon your definition, develop your response. This is mission critical. The way you respond could either make you or break you. If you respond in fear versus faith, others will follow down that path. If so, you cripple your ability to help people stay hopeful, move forward and act appropriately.

Personally, my response is simple. It’s business as usual while increasing my level of service. I woke up early on Saturday, hired a production team and made a video to inspire leaders to step up. If you increase your level of service, you’re going to win.

This crisis could either buckle your knees or cause you to rise to the challenge. And that’s the paradigm shift — choose to shine.

Third: Determine the Reward

Finally, you must determine the reward. If you respond to crisis in faith, it will compel you to do the work of a leader.

During crisis, leaders must work harder, but we also enjoy a greater reward. And the biggest reward is this — you’ll prove resilience. Personally, this crisis motivates me to think deeper about my business and how I can serve. I’ve had a 2020 initiative on the books for April that was supposed to bring together iconic leaders, including the founder of the Ritz-Carlton, Horst Schulze. He is one of the very few people on planet earth that can speak into this global pandemic.

Instead, I’m flying to Atlanta to video him and make it available in the public domain. I’ll sell tickets to the event and also stream and offer webinars. My event has changed, and the shift has caused me to roll up my sleeves and serve my customers differently than I had planned.

Faith, Not Fear

Leaders, I implore you to respond to this global pandemic not in fear, but in faith. Not with rigidity to the plans that were in place, but with flexibility and innovation.

People are looking to you for guidance — I urge you to welcome it with open arms. Lead with wisdom and power, and in the coming months and years, our world will be all the better for it.

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Philip J. Nicaud Jr

Philip J. Nicaud Jr., is the founder and CEO of Legendary Leadership Consultants located in Mandeville, Louisiana. As chief strategist he has coached hundreds of top-level leaders across America. He may be reached at phil@legendaryleadershipconsultants.com.

*The author has a professional affiliation with this subject.