Culture Scout: 3 articles and a survey on leading during chaotic times

culture scout

Welcome to this very loopy roller coaster of a week, where stopping and getting off is not an option for leaders. Culture Scout may be screaming along with you in the front car, but at least we are screaming some good information about how executives are handling this crazy ride. We’ve also added articles on how to take care of your teams – and take care of yourself. Good luck, and may good culture always be with you!

1. Preparing for election tension to boil over

Business leaders are calling for calm but bracing for mayhem, a new AFP News articles in Barron’s says, offering a roundup of worries from leaders including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and experts at risk-management firms, who cite an increase in requests for additional security. 

Excerpt from the AFP article

“While retailers have been most interested in the potential of looting or rioting, operations with around-the-clock shift workers are worried about trouble in the streets preventing employees from showing up, according to Wood. Companies are also worried that polarizing political themes fueling conflict in the streets will ignite clashes on factory floors or in other facilities.”

2. Leading teams through global adversity

You may not be able to stand tall on your ship’s deck while enemy fire is all around you, but you can at least be empathetic, show some vulnerability and make sure you give employees a chance to express themselves, even if you don’t have the perfect words to offer in return. Those are lessons from JotForm CEO Aytekin Tank in Entrepreneur, and they’re worth taking to heart.

Excerpt from the Entrepreneur essay:

“Being kind to yourself will also make it easier to be empathetic with others. And why not? You’re experiencing many of the same stresses and anxieties as the members of your team. A lot of leadership advice often focuses on quashing emotion and weathering a crisis through sheer force of will and determination. But that’s not sustainable.”

3. Taking stock of COVID

CEOs have become the “daily news anchors” of their firms, and CHROs have become “frontline employees for their organizations,” according to a new global survey report from executive search firm Kingsley Gate Partners. The survey of over 1,200 respondents examined leadership through the first 6 months of the pandemic. It found most leaders plan to keep salaries level, most have made wellness/retention and investment priority, and that 76% said their firms experienced little (less than 25%) to no efficiency loss from employees working remotely. 

Excerpt from the Kingsley Gate Partners survey report

“The pandemic has created an incredible opportunity. It has allowed organizations to reevaluate their strategies, the company vision, and enhance the company culture.” 

4. Avoiding blowout fights over politics

Manhattan psychologist, democrat  and author Jeanne Safer, whose husband is an editor at the conservative ‘National Review,’ offers relationship advice that works just as well in the workplace on how not to throttle the ones you care about when the subject of politics comes up. Particularly useful for leaders in this Wall Street Journal Q&A are Safer’s thoughts on deflecting people who are itching for a fight.

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal Q&A:

“People have a feeling that avoiding things is somehow weakness or hypocrisy. I’ve learned that it’s wisdom and civility. And there are many things that are more important than politics: how the person treats you; if someone rejoices for your success and grieves for your troubles and backs you up; if you enjoy your time together. These are the things that count.”

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