Spread the ideas, not the virus: Be the leader the world needs you to be

Watch Mike Pitcher's video or read his contribution below.

Leadership is not the private domain of politicians and corporate executives. Leadership is Influence. If you influence the thoughts, beliefs or behaviors of others, then you are in a leadership position. In fact, we all serve as leaders in one capacity or another. This crisis will demand that all of us elevate our leadership skills to not only get through the crisis, but also to lead through the recovery as well.

In March of this year, about a week after the United States began to realize the significant nature of the virus that we now call Covid-19, I recorded a short leadership video (linked to this story). As a recently retired executive I felt helpless, and in a small way I wanted to help leaders navigate the coming storm. I felt that I had experience to share, as I was promoted to the CEO role of LeasePlan USA in the third quarter of 2008, about one month prior to the global meltdown of financial markets (later known as the “Great Recession”). Today, after two weeks in isolation with my family, I realize that this pandemic will not only wreak havoc in our financial markets, but it will tear at the very fabric of our society.

There are three things leaders must do. First, leaders must remain calm. Second, leaders must be great students and learn. Third, leaders must communicate regularly. And the communication must be open and honest.

Effective communication, both open and honest, will be critical to successfully leading through this crisis. Many people will feel vulnerable and isolated because of social distancing. Of course, if the predictions of massive layoffs and furloughs materialize, financial burdens will create additional stress and fear for millions of people. Leaders must continue to drive the message that “things will be okay”. And things will indeed BE OKAY. This is not an apocalyptic event. People get the virus, and the vast majority survive.

We are all in this together. Every single day leaders will have the opportunity to be a positive force in someone’s life. Those that we influence will take their cues from us on how to react. The current environment while challenging, will not last forever. Together, leaning on each other for strength, we will get through this. Lead with compassion. Lead with empathy. Lead with positivity. It is time to be the Leader the world needs you to be.

Author: Mike Pitcher, Industry Expert and former CEO of LeasePlan USA

With the Blog 'Spread the ideas, not the virus' we aim to support the fleet & mobility industry at times of the global spread of the coronavirus. We give the opportunity to our community to express their opinion, their ideas, their support in the format of a letter of max. 500 words to our community. It’s your personal insight to share with your peers and partners in the industry. Send your letter to Steven Schoefs, sschoefs@nexuscommunication.be