"The Eye of the Hurricane: Leadership in the Age of COVID-19"
A new playbook for leading in troubled times.
Below is an article originally written by Arianna Huffington, the Founder & CEO of PowerToFly Partner Thrive Global, and published on March 27, 2020. Go to Thrive Global's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
For those in leadership positions, the coronavirus crisis is an unprecedented challenge. As we navigate the new normal for ourselves and for our loved ones, we carry the added responsibility of steering our organizations through uncertain times.
In times of crisis the need for leadership comes into sudden, clear focus — and, by the same token, a lack of leadership becomes impossible to miss. Our decisions will not only make or break a company, but have direct and lasting effects on people's lives.
At Thrive Global, our team has been in many conversations with company leaders from a range of industries. What we've heard has only amplified the results of Thrive's survey of 5,000 Americans: people are craving strong leadership and clear communication. Nearly 90% of employees feel that employers need to be doing more than just implementing travel bans and/or work-from-home policies to properly address coronavirus-related challenges.
What is clear is that we are at an inflection point for leaders. But meeting the challenges of navigating the new normal isn't just about looking out; it's about looking in. What's missing from our conversation is how leaders need to show up ready to lead from what is best, wisest, most creative and empathetic in them.
If ever there was a moment demanding a new leadership playbook, this is it.
The first step is a mindset shift — away from the misguided belief that in urgent times leaders need to be always on and drive themselves into burnout in order to meet the challenges. In fact, the opposite is true. When what leaders are required to do is expertly manage the status quo, this may work. But in times of deep uncertainty like this, in order for leaders to be able to see the icebergs ahead and recognize the hidden opportunities they need to find a way to get themselves into the metaphorical eye of the hurricane — that centered place of strength, wisdom and peace which we all have inside ourselves. This was the place that Marcus Aurelius, the emperor of Rome for 19 years — facing plagues, invasions and betrayals — described in his book Meditations (the only leadership book I have by my nightstand!). Because only from that place can we come up with our most innovative and creative ideas that the times demand. What is expected of leaders is judgment, not sheer stamina.
Here are some of the key insights for leadership in the age of coronavirus that will help leaders move from awareness to action.
Putting our own oxygen mask on first
There's a reason why airline attendants always instruct us that, in the case of emergency, we'll be most able to help others if we secure our own oxygen masks first. When we accept that it's the quality — not the quantity — of our decisions that really matters right now, it's easier to see the stakes of the impaired decision making that comes from not taking time to recharge. Athletes were the first to recognize that recovery is an essential part of peak performance. The same is true for the less athletically gifted among us: we can't perform at our best if we forgo sleep, overindulge in stress eating, soothe our anxiety and uncertainty with alcohol or — does this sound too familiar? — forget to take even a minute to move between back-to-back Zoom meetings.
When we do take care of ourselves, we see benefits to our physical and mental health, performance and productivity. When we don't, we pay a price: innovation, creativity, resilience, empathy, decision-making and team building are the first to disappear when we are burned out and depleted.
One of my favorite comments came from Ellyn Shook, Accenture's Chief Human Resources Officer. Ellyn shared that she had been struggling with her decision to take a daily walk, feeling that it took her away from her responsibilities. So she reframed this feeling: instead of viewing her walk as self-indulgent, she came to see it as a way to recharge herself — and as a result make better decisions and be a better leader. In other words, her walks are not just for her.
We need to count our successes more than we count our failures
In unprecedented times, with high stakes, it's common to dwell on our failures and on our mistakes. It's easy to listen to what I call the "obnoxious roommate" living in our head. Instead, we need to tune out our obnoxious roommate and focus on our successes.
This is hard, because our brains have a negative bias. We're working against the habenula, the "anti-reward" part of our brain that tracks our failures and mistakes.
When everything is urgent, nothing is prioritized
In times of crisis like now, it's all the more important to establish clear priorities and relentlessly ask ourselves what matters most. This means differentiating between true urgency and false urgency. One key filter is constantly reminding ourselves that "business as usual" no longer applies. If something was a priority before the crisis, calling out that it can be discarded or tabled because it may no longer be a priority can be one of the best leadership decisions we can make.
Problems should be solved at the lowest level of the organization
There are lots of stories about people hoarding right now: food, supplies and, of course, the new bitcoin of the realm, toilet paper. For leaders one of the worst things to hoard is decisions. We need to audit our decision-making and ask: which of these decisions can be made at a lower part of the organization?
Delegation is key, but first we have to build our team of support
Individuals can't always be on, but teams can. Leadership means resisting the "hero mentality" — the idea that "if I want it done right, I have to do it myself." Instead, it's about building strong, sustainable teams that allow each individual the chance to recharge in order to be their best.
Role-model and practice compassionate directness
How we communicate has to reflect the realities of what people are dealing with. Now more than ever, we need to connect with people in a personal way. This means daily check-ins. It means starting every conversation with simple, direct questions, like, "How are you?" "How is your family?" "Any developments since yesterday?" We must give people room to share what otherwise might be kept private — maybe they're having trouble getting food or prescription deliveries or worrying about their parents' health. Before we even begin to talk about business, we need to open the door to these conversations in authentic, compassionate ways, and keep that door open.
In times of physical distancing, connecting with others has never been more important.
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💎 “What are you passionate about?” In an interview, you may have to answer this and other personal questions. Watch the video to the end to succeed in your job interview at Ribbon.
📼If asked “what are you passionate about?” in an interview you need to show how your passion can make you a good candidate for a job position. Ryan Key, Talent Partner at Ribbon, shares some tips and tricks for you to stand out!
📼Answering what are you passionate about in an interview is not the only thing you need to know how to do to succeed. You should try to make sure that you express your experience in a way that shows your interest in Ribbon’s mission. Also, prove that you did your research and demonstrate to the recruiter that you understand exactly how your role affects Ribbon’s purposes. Don’t forget to share some ideas on how you intend to fulfill the company’s mission!
📼 You are asked what are you passionate about in an interview, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t ask as well. You should feel empowered to ask any question you want during your interview process. It may be helpful to save certain questions for certain people. If you're in an interview with your potential manager, you should take that time to ask about their assessment metrics for the role and their management style. If you're speaking with a potential peer, this would be a great time to ask about their experience during training and to learn a little more about the team and culture.
What Are You Passionate About? Show In Your Interview That You Are Aligned With Ribbon's Values
The mission at Ribbon is to make homeownership achievable for everyone, especially communities traditionally left out of the homeownership story. One way Ribbon addresses diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is through its support of employee resource groups. Remember to show that your passion is aligned with these core values!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Ribbon? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Ryan Key
If you are interested in a career at Ribbon, you can connect with Ryan Key on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Ribbon
Ribbon is a first-of-its-kind real estate technology company transforming the real estate transaction by delivering certainty, transparency, and joy to the home buying process. Consumers and realtors deserve a better experience, and they have designed an open platform that welcomes everyone in the ecosystem to participate.
We all have our favorite websites– the ones we frequent, bookmark, and recommend to others. You might even enjoy some website features so much that you’ve found yourself wondering why they aren’t more popular. Or maybe you’ve experienced times where you were frustrated with a website and wished you could add features or even design your own!
If you’ve ever found yourself intrigued at the prospect of designing and developing your own websites, then a career as a web developer might be just for you!
As a web developer you would be responsible for coding, designing, optimizing, and maintaining websites. Today, there are over 1.7 billion websites in the world and, in turn, the demand for web developers is on the rise. In order to figure out what kind of web development work best suits you let’s start with an introduction to the three main roles in web development that you can choose from.
The Three Types of Web Development Jobs
Front-End Web Development: The Creative Side
In addition to programming skills, front-end developers need to be detail oriented, creative, willing to keep up with the latest trends in web development, cyber security conscious, and geared toward user-friendly designs. The median salary for a front-end developer can reach well into the $90,000 to $100,000 range.
Back-End Web Development: The Logical Counterpart
While a house can be beautifully decorated, it’s incomplete without a solid foundation and efficient infrastructure. Similarly, a well-designed website depends on logical and functional code to power the features of that website. Back-end web development is code-heavy and focused on the specifics of how a website works. If you enjoy the analytical challenge of creating the behind-the-scenes code that powers a website, then back-end development is for you.
Full-Stack Web Development: A Little Bit of Everything
A full-stack developer is essentially the Jack (or Jill)-of-all-trades in web development. Full-stack developers need to be knowledgeable about both front-end and back-end roles. This does not necessarily imply that you would need to be an expert in both roles, but you should fully understand the different applications and synergies they each imply. In order to work in this position, you will need to know the programming languages used by front-end and back-end developers. In addition to these languages, full-stack developers also specialize in databases, storage, HTTP, REST, and web architecture.
Full-stack developers are often required to act as liaisons between front-end and back-end developers. Full-stack developers need to be both problem solvers and great communicators. The end goal for a full-stack developer is to ensure that the user’s experience is seamless, both on the front-end and on the back-end. In return, you can expect to earn a median salary of $100,000 – $115,000 a year for this role.
Taking the Next Step
Web development is both in-demand and lucrative! All three roles described above contribute to specific aspects of web development and the scope of each one can be customized to the industries and positions you feel best suit you. Regardless of which role you choose, all of them need a foundation in programming.
To gain the programming skills needed in each role, you can enroll in courses or learn independently. Coding bootcamps are a great way to boost your skillset quickly and efficiently.
Click here for some of our highly rated programming bootcamp options! Make sure to check out the discounts available to PowerToFly members.
💎 Partnerships in remote environments is one of the most important aspects to construct in a company. Watch the video to the end to get good tips on how to do it successfully.
📼Wondering how to create partnerships in remote environments? Play this video to get three top tips that will help you to achieve it. You'll hear from Olga Shvets, HR Business Partner, and Viktoriia Litvinchuk, People Team Operations at Unstoppable Domains, who will explain the essentials of this process.
📼How to build partnerships in remote environments? Tip #1: Communicate Effectively. Communication is the key to enabling your remote team to be successful. Choose the channel that works best. For this, chat with your employees and see what they use to communicate, that's how you find the best solution. Also, make sure your team is on board with your internal tools and they know what, how, and where they need to use them.
📼A requisite for building partnerships in remote environments is Tip #2: Show appreciation. Appreciation is shown through your actions. Let your employees know that you value everything they do for the company. Create a special gratitude channel where everyone can share their appreciation for their colleagues for some contribution. Celebrate some wins, promotions, and everything that is important for the company. If you appreciate the employees, employees do the same for the company.
Create Partnerships In Remote Environments Using Trust - Tip #3: Give Honest Feedback
Use engagement surveys! They are a quick and effective way to receive honest feedback from your team and you can see what's working well and what needs to be improved. Your main priority is to create spaces where managers and employees can share honest, relevant feedback.
📨 Are you interested in joining Unstoppable Domains? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Olga Shvets
If you are interested in a career at Unstoppable Domains, you can connect with Olga on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Unstoppable Domains
Unstoppable Domains is bringing user-controlled identity to 3 billion+ internet users by issuing domain names on the blockchain. These domains allow users to replace cryptocurrency addresses with human-readable names, host decentralized websites, and much more.
By selling these domains direct to consumers for a one-time fee, the company is making a product that will change cryptocurrency and shape the future of the decentralized web by providing users control over their identity and data.
💎Want to know what engineering teams are like at Workiva? Watch the video to the end to find out!
📼 Engineering teams at Workiva are constantly hiring. Marie Yue, Senior Engineering Manager at the company, tells you what they look for in a candidate and what the dynamics of teamwork are like.
📼 The typical path in the engineering teams at Workiva is that you grow into a senior, and then you move into a lead role. From there, there are a few different tracks that you can take depending on your interest. You can become a staff engineer, an architect, or even an engineering manager. What are you waiting for to apply?
📼In the engineering teams at Workiva every member should feel empowered to do their job effectively. For this, each has to understand how the work they do day to day solves customers’ problems. Managers will always seek to be aware of members’ career path aspirations so that they can look for opportunities and projects to help each person reach the next step in their career.
Engineering Teams At Workiva: A Safe Space
Marie Yue’s team is a safe space for people to make mistakes and ask for help, and each member feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. She wants to make sure that everyone is individually empowered to lead and make decisions. For this, the team has regular meetings where they do fun things like play virtual games or eat lunch together, and they also like to re-review and add to their team working agreement once a quarter.
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Workiva? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Marie Yue
If you are interested in a career at Workiva, you can connect with Marie Yue on LinkedIn. Don’t forget to mention this video!
More About Workiva
Workiva was founded to transform the way people manage and report business data with various collaborators, data sources, documents, and spreadsheets. Today, people all over the world use their platform to seamlessly orchestrate data among their systems and applications for transparent and trusted connected reporting and compliance. At Workiva, they are innovative in everything they do—from how they build their software, to how they serve their customers, to how they treat their employees.