EM 177| How to Address the Tension in the Air Pt. 2


In this week’s Executive Minds, Kevin, Jeff, and David continue their conversation on how to address the tension in the air as a business leader. This week, they dig into creating a process to navigate crises. We’re in the middle of a pandemic and a social uprising, but if not these then there will be something else that will lead us into a tension that we’ll have to maneuver effectively. By the end of this episode, you should be able to extract a light framework to better navigate tension on the team, whether or not we’re the cause of it. We hope you find this conversation as helpful as we did having the discussion. Thank you for tuning in!

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Three Takeaways:

There are things you can do before the crisis so that you can be ready for it.

People want leaders who are honest, not always right. If they feel like their leadership is honest, then that builds a culture of trust. And in that trust, people will feel free to share how they’re really feeling. Trust leads to truth. As business leaders, you must begin to look out and read the weak signals. You won’t have perfect information or be right always, but you can begin to anticipate and prepare your team for how to handle it. Furthermore, start small. You can pilot ideas with a diverse test group to determine effectiveness. Ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening before you begin talking so that you get a holistic understanding of the tension.

Make sure you prep your internal team before going external. This will ensure you have alignment, buy-in, unity, and support. With that, you’re now in a position to take action or speak.

Diversity isn’t a trend.

Making diversity a priority in the hiring process means a lot. If this was not a focus before this moment (especially if it has been advocated for in the past), your team will look at any company responses at this moment as hollow. This is why it’s a big and significant step to read the weak signals in your leadership role. Diversity and inclusion isn’t the trend of the day. It’s not just another cool corporate America fad that will eventually fade. It should serve as a core principle and building block. Even if you’re not located in a diverse population, you can still take steps like book clubs or discussion resources that pull from diverse thought. What are you doing to stretch the hearts and minds of the people who are there so that deeper empathy and wisdom can be cultivated?

Giving up power for the greater good.

Dr. King talked about how the biggest obstacle for people in power is their unwillingness to give up that power. If you are in an influential role, then you have power. What is the fear you have in giving up that power? Ultimately, giving power and influence away will be to the benefit of others as well as yourself because it shows that your organization and business is bigger than you. In what ways can you forfeit the spotlight/platform/influence so that others might shine and combat inequity and inequality? Can you shepherd leaders as opposed to leading from the forefront? There’s strength in forfeiting name recognition for larger impact. Any real change requires a cost. Your team will recognize your commitment to change, by how much you're willing to risk. It could be a client, employee, or productivity, but something will have to be sacrificed to address this tension authentically. Giving up your power and influence for the greater good will serve your organization better in the long run.