Do You Need a Leadership Storm?

Storms that may seem destructive, often bring positive results. A leadership storm can have the same impact. A good leader that enters a bad situation (drought), needs to make tough decisions (storm), but the positive results are undeniable (growth).

Sometimes we need a Leadership Storm

The Drought

Preceding storming leadership is often a drought. This drought is a time of difficult challenges and may include any of the following symptoms:

1. Poor Leadership: Many organizations are rife with selfish leaders. Over time, this results in a drought of leadership and depreciates our greatest asset: the people.

2. Financial Crisis: Our global economy has declined, consistently, for several years placing many organizations in a financial crisis.

3. Tunnel Vision: Many corporations, especially the public sector, focus exclusively on investors. The result drains consumer, employee and the community value.

The Storm

As a result of a drought, sometimes a storm is needed to replenish nutrients in the organization. Like physical storms, leadership storms have similar symptoms:

1. Discomfort: Lighting storms can be frightening. After years of doing things one way, the organization may need to make a drastic change.

2. Cleansing Effect: You may not have taken out the trash in your organizational leadership for a long time. After a good storm, what was grimy shines better.

3. Nourishment: After a good storm, crops are replenished with water and nutrients. Leadership storms nourish the organization by feeding the needs of depleted departments.

4. Replenished Reservoirs: Droughts deplete reservoirs. Similarly, toxic leaders drain the reserves of organizations – stealing from tomorrow to make today look good. A leadership storm rebuilds those reservoirs.

The Growth

In order for a leadership storm to succeed, a delicate balance must be struck: it must be strong, but not so strong it damages the crops. It must be long enough to allow the ground to absorb the water but not so long it drowns the field. Here are some tips for ensuring there is growth after the storm.

1. Communicate the Need – If you’re not a farmer, you may not understand what is at risk during a drought until it is too late. Similarly, leaders must ensure those effected by the storm understand the need before it is too late.

2. Plan Comprehensively – People who face a lot of storms know how critical proper preparation is. Leaders must do the same. Planning the start, finish and anticipated results is crucial.

3. Be Transparent – Ensure the team knows what to expect and when you expect it. Storms don’t last forever and there are often signs that the end is nearing. Likewise, tell your people what to expect and when you think the storm will pass.

4. Minimize Damage – Winds too strong, destroy crops. Likewise, leadership cuts must not be too deep. Leaders must be careful not to eliminate too many resources or too much innovation.

5. Celebrate Completion – After the storm comes the rainbow. Similarly, you must celebrate with the team. Tell them how grateful you are for their support. Recap the damage, but also realized benefits and the defined end of the storm.

Destructive forces are never pleasant. However, if your organization needs a storm, ensure you design and deliver the storm as effectively and efficiently as possible. If you sense an oncoming storm, consider these tips to minimize the damage and maximize your results.

Question: How else can storms at the office be successful?


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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