Taking the Lead in a World of Uncertainty

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Jenna Heydt

By: Jenna Heydt
Director, Workforce & Leadership Development
Alamance Chamber

COVID-19 has put a halt to life as we know it. It has altered the way we live our lives and complicated our daily routine. It’s changed how we shop, bank, hold meetings, gather with families, teach our children, worship, – it’s even changed how much toilet paper we buy.

I think we can all agree that COVID-19 has left its mark and continues to do so. Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily have control as to when things will return to the new normal – when we will be able to visit family, again, when kids will be able to return to school, or when we will be able to gather at festivals or events,  but one thing we do have control of during this time is how we are leading, or not.

Peter B. Stark tells us that, In a moment of crisis, reactions set the leaders apart from the followers.

I am proud to be part of a community that is overflowing with leaders. You don’t have to scroll through social media long to see a story that highlights how a local business shifted their focus to address the current needs. We see evidence of this in all sectors – large industry, small business, non-profit, faith based, government, etc. Did you know that more than a quarter of a million meals have been distributed to children in Alamance County over the past few weeks?! That doesn’t happen by chance. That requires leaders to come together at a time when there is so much uncertainty and fear. There are many examples of this throughout our community – masks, face shields and accessories (to help eliminate face and ear irritation) along with a variety of other items are being produced by local businesses who have shifted their focus to support our healthcare workers and public safety personnel.

You don’t have to be the president or CEO of a large company to lead during a time of crisis. A small act of leadership can go a long way. The Front Steps Project™ originated in Needham, Massachusetts, on March 17, when three photographers came together to capture this historical moment by snapping pictures of families on their front steps – from six feet away, of course.  Since the start of The Front Steps Project™, photographers across the globe have been inspired to start their own The Front Steps Project™ to raise money for local charities, non-profits, and small businesses that need extra support during this time. Others have raised funds that directly support our frontline workers and public safety personnel. Thousands of dollars have been donated across the globe during this time because three photographers took lead in their community. We all have a circle or village that we choose to spend our free time with, a board we serve on, or a department with work with – we all have an opportunity to lead, each day.

I challenge you to take lead during this time. A simple first step is to share the good news stories! Yes, we need to be aware of the latest developments as it relates to our safety and health, but take a moment to share the good news, too. Encourage your neighbor who may be struggling. Check-in on your staff and coworkers. And, after we return to our offices and children return to school, let’s not forget that we all have the ability to lead in our own way.

To view the Alamance Chamber’s COVID-19 Resource Page, click here.