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The Four Keys to Leading in a Crisis: #2 Perspective

September 29, 2020

Last week, I began a blog series about the four keys to leading in a crisis and unpacked the importance of purpose.

Effective leaders connect their team’s work to its larger purpose, giving them the fuel they need to persevere through the most trying seasons. 

Purpose naturally leads us to our next key to leading in a crisis: perspective. Knowing your purpose clarifies your perspective of the storms you face in life.

Perspective is a powerful tool. Seeing the same thing from a different angle can completely change our experience of it. Consider an ocean view. It could appear never-ending from the top of a lighthouse. It could look like the home of a million creatures from the inside of a submarine, or it could appear dangerous from a helicopter with the waves rolling below. In each position, you are looking at the same ocean, but when your perspective shifts, your perception of the ocean, the sand, the water, and the waves changes.

The same is true when we face obstacles. We often feel like we’re at the bottom of a mountain, and the only way up is to scale a cliff. But if we would just walk along the base of the mountain for a while, we might find a trail to the top on the other side. It’s the same mountain, but your perspective of it is different. It will be challenging to climb, but you can climb it. 

One of the ways you can lead well during a crisis is to constantly work to adjust your perspective.

This is especially important when building relationships with members of your team. 

One of our senior leaders at ADDO, Laura, tells the story of the first time she needed to have a difficult conversation with her team member Liz. Laura decided to confront her head on, but it didn’t go well. Liz needed time and space to process this kind of critique, not a tense moment in the office. Laura later realized this reaction was part of Liz’s personality style. Had she had the proper perspective of Liz’s personality style at the time, this conflict could have been more productive.

This is why we’ve worked to create the ADDO Index. ADDO Index is a series of scientific assessments that reveals the different personality types and styles on your team. It’s designed to help you gain the right perspective of yourself and your team members. Knowing what motivates and energizes your team helps you lead them most effectively.

In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey says, “To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.”

In order to grow as leaders, we need to be willing to change the way we see ourselves, one another, our work, and the crises we face together. This takes humility,  intentionality, and open communication with the members of your team.

This week, work to change your perspective of one aspect of your personal or professional life. It could be a difficult relationship. It could be an on-going project. Or it could be our current crisis—in the midst of global pandemic. Whatever you choose, commit to see it in a new way.


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