Leading when things are hard

This is the second time since we started this blog last November that I’ve been staring at a blank screen and trying to figure out what to say about leadership when the world is a hard place.  By the time you read this we’ll know more, but right now all I know is that someone in Boston, for whatever reason, decided to cause tragedy in the midst of a celebration.

I don’t even know what to think about it.  Frankly, my mind is just tired.  This could be because we in Minnesota are in the midst of the-spring-that-wouldn’t-come and were already feeling grumpy about life in general.  But it’s also because I’m just sad.  My college-age daughter asked me after hearing about the marathon bombings if the world was getting worse, or if she was just getting older and noticing more.  I didn’t have an answer.

Then I remembered a TED talk by Harvard’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter in which she talked about leadership skills for making the world a better place.  Listening to her advice helped.  She proposed six leadership actions that we can all take to keep things moving in a positive direction.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s Six Leadership Skills

Show up: be present and engaged
– How can you make a difference?

Speak up: use the power of voice
– What is the problem and how can you help shape the agenda?

Look up: focus on vision and values
– What bigger issues do you stand for?

Team up: create partnerships
– How can we align our mutual efforts?

Never give up: everything can look like a failure in the middle
– How can you create success, even if it wasn’t the one you were looking for?

Life others up: share success and give back
– How can you help other people feel elevated?

Instead of sitting around and being sad, I’m going to pick one of these actions and do something useful.  Maybe you can do the same.

Dee Anne Bonebright

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