Joseph Michelli

Uncertainty provides opportunity to examine leadership

Leaders use pandemic as a ‘purpose reset,’ says author Joseph Michelli.

August 18, 2021

While COVID-19 has been a challenging time for leaders, it’s also been an opportunity for those leaders to evaluate how they lead not only during the pandemic but during less turbulent times as well.

“In these moments, adversity uncovers character; it doesn’t necessarily build it,” says Joseph Michelli, an organizational consultant and author of “Stronger Through Diversity.” “It also poses a challenge for us to think about how we want to be remembered in the context of our leadership.”

Michelli addressed the CUNA CEO Council virtual event, “Through the Leadership Lens Virtual Series: Enhancing Member Experience & Increasing Loyalty.” 

During the pandemic, Michelli says leaders were “learning on the fly,” but they came away with lessons they could apply during the pandemic and beyond. These lessons include:

  • Practice self-care. To be an effective leader and take care of your employees during a crisis, you must take care of yourself, Michelli says. Regulate your work-life balance, go for a walk, or take a moment to breathe or stretch between Zoom meetings.
  • Communicate effectively. Instead of communicating constantly, make sure the messages you send are consistent, purposeful, and have a regular cadence, Michelli says. Don’t create clutter with your messaging.
  • Stylize a strategic plan. During the pandemic, strategic planning became a short-term priority as leaders managed the crisis and continued to execute mission-critical concerns every day. 
  • Define your legacy. Position yourself to have a lasting impact from both an organizational perspective and in terms of how your leadership impacts the organization.

“I hope leaders will use this time as a purpose reset and look back and say, ‘That was the moment we hit pause on the way things have always been and we became far more intentional about how we can deliver what people need,’” Michelli says.