While leading an association through a global pandemic required enormous focus, flexibility, and quick thinking, 2022 will be a good time to step back and reflect on how leadership has changed – or stayed the same – as a result of what associations and members have experienced.
Most leaders admit that they learned a lot about themselves, their staff, and their members throughout the pandemic. Young employees and members who had not experienced a career or business crisis had to be shown how to respond and how an association can support members in emergency situations. As we move away from the crisis of the pandemic and toward a return to more “normal” activities, the fast-paced, quick-decision approach to leadership may no longer be effective.
Evaluating leadership skills will not only improve relationships with board members, volunteers, and members, but also with employees.
In “7 Harsh Truths That Will Improve Your Leadership Skills Overnight,” the author identifies key attributes of successful leaders:
- Good leaders pump the fear out of the room. In today’s economy, servant leaders create an organizational vision, then inspire others to collaborate and contribute to the vision. Their first priority is to remove fear and liberate people to freely collaborate.
- Good leadership doesn’t happen without trust. An effective leader inspires trust by creating transparency, practicing accountability, talking straight, confronting reality, and righting wrongs.
- Good leaders are willing to listen to feedback. A leader who listens well to feedback is open and accountable.
- Good leaders are positive, even when things go bad. Rather than stressing out about a work situation or failure, good leaders practice positive thinking and look at these situations as learning opportunities.
- Good leaders rarely procrastinate. Not putting off things until the last minute is one sign of good leadership.
- Good leaders put strict boundaries on themselves. Saying no to opportunities that don’t excite them, speak to their values, or further their mission in life means that good leaders don’t put themselves in a position of overworking themselves or neglecting self-care and family.
- Leadership is really about love. Coach Vince Lombardi said it best, “I don’t necessarily have to like my players and association, but as a leader, I must love them. Love is loyalty, love is teamwork, love respects the dignity of the individual. This is the strength of any organization.”