Around the globe we are witnessing businesses, cities and countries come to a complete standstill. Rewind the clock to end December, we would have never guessed that the world is in the state that it is today. This because of an invisible predator called COVID-19.
Every government, every business, and every family are navigating uncharted waters. Each day senior government leaders ask, how will we run the country today? Families ask, what do we need to do to protect and educate and feed ourselves and our families. Businesses ask, how will we manage to stay afloat when we have no business.
It’s in times of crisis when people look to their leaders for guidance and direction; to lead by example; to inspire and give hope.
But what happens when there is no top-down message of reassurance and guidance, no words of encouragement or no plan of action?
As a CEO, small business owner, parent, manager, educator, employee, you ARE a leader. The question is, are you going to wait for others to tell you what to do? Perhaps you’re taking a wait and see attitude? I applaud people who seek other opinions; however, opinions are just another form of information.
It’s easy to adopt a herd mentality. I say forget about following the crowd. For those of you in leadership positions or running a small business, it’s time for you to become a thought leader—It’s time for you to step up and step in!
A thought leader is someone who offers guidance and insights to those around them.
If you’re looking for someone else to tell you how to run your business, you’re in big trouble. No one knows your business strategy, your clients, your staff, your industry, your business better than you.
You have a front row seat to witness all that goes on in your organization and industry, so tap into that knowledge.
When it comes to thought leadership, people often wonder if they have something worth saying that would add value to those around them. Perhaps you’ve had thoughts and ideas but were just afraid to voice them out of fear of what other people will think. My response to that is for you to get out of your own way and begin sharing.
Here are a few things for your consideration to put you on the path of being a thought leader to those around you.
Read or watch the news about what is happening without emotion.
Listen or read about what is happening internationally, your state and not just your local community. Often you can gain insights about what is likely to happen within your own country based on the actions of others. Ask yourself, what is the implication of this information to my business, to my family, to my community? What are the pluses and minuses of this information?
Think about your clients.
As a business owner, you need to focus on your clients. Ask yourself, how can I be of service to my clients? What do they need right now? What’s happening in their industry and how can you pivot to adapt to their immediate needs.
It might be something as simple as providing a listening ear.
Now is not the time for the hardcore direct selling. Unless you sell a product that consumers or your clients need, then dial down the in-your-face-selling. I’m shocked by the number of travel companies that still push the luxury resorts and holiday destinations to my inbox.
I’m not saying that you should discontinue your marketing efforts—heavens don’t do that. Just rethink what you’re putting out to the world with empathy and through the lens of your clients.
Being a thought leader might be new to you, yet I know you can do it. You possess thoughts and ideas that may be of great value to others. You’ll never know until you give a voice to those thoughts either verbally or in writing.
Now take a deep breath. Take another one. Now step up and step into your leadership role.
Entrepreneurship consultant, keynote speaker and author, Pamela Wigglesworth has carved out a unique space in the market specializing in small business marketing and senior entrepreneurship. She is the author of The 50-60 Something Start-up Entrepreneur: How to Quickly Start and Run a Successful Small Business. Discover if entrepreneurship is for you.