Are you ready to step in, step up and lead by example?

Marcus Straub
Marcus Straub

We face difficult times. The coronavirus outbreak has created uncertainty for business owners as well as team members and the customers and communities they serve.

Team members on the front lines of essential services work long hours under the constant threat of infection. Customers face shortages of goods and services. Other team members have been laid off, putting the safety and security of their families in jeopardy. Communities have shut down. Social distancing has necessarily, but severely, limited our interactions. People are stressed on many fronts, and it’s beginning to show.

How will we get through this? Together. And the journey will be made more bearable through the genuine support of one another as we forge ahead. Now is not the time for partisan politics, rich against poor or any of the other usual divisive attitudes and actions that limit us as a people and country.

We have an opportunity to come together in the face of a shared foe and lift each other up so together we can get to the other side wiser, stronger and more unified than ever. We have a chance to be better than we were.

Leaders in the business community play a significant role in how well we’ll navigate our reality. The best leaders provide composure, encouragement, strength and support in challenging times. People look to them for guidance and use their examples of perseverance to fuel their own resiliency. These leaders arise from every aspect of the business, from the person who owns the company to the people who clean up after the day and restock the shelves.

Leaders also arise from the community. People help those in need with gift cards for food. They bring groceries and other supplies to those who can’t and shouldn’t go out. Retired medical professionals travel from across the country to hot spots to lend their time and expertise as others among them fall ill themselves. This is leadership by example, and it’s there for all of us to see and emulate as best we can.

We have an opportunity to provide examples of caring, courage, strength and support that inspire others. By putting ourselves in the shoes of business owners, cashiers, plumbers, restaurant workers, trash collectors and so many others who enable us to continue with our own businesses and lives, we gain a clearer picture of reality. Once we look beyond our little worlds, we can see the bigger picture and where our genuine appreciation, help and praise make a difference.

When people receive genuine praise and recognition, they feel good, valued and inspired to keep up the effort. They light up and feel better. This is widely apparent in their body language. They’re motivated to hang in there and keep going.

Every person who’s going to work, braving the risks and facing the challenges so the rest of us can keep working and living needs encouragement and support from us so they have the human fuel they need to remain resilient for the weeks to come.

As I run my necessary errands for supplies and other goods,  I always tell whoever helps me, “Thank you for being here. I appreciate you.” They instantly light up and enjoy a little relief from the hardships they face on a daily basis.

The desire to feel good about ourselves and the efforts we put forth constitutes a very real human need. As a leader, no matter what walk of life you come from, it’s wise to get a firm grasp of this understanding and change your perspective and behavior so you consistently offer the praise, recognition and support we need to get through the coronavirus outbreak.

The golden rule many of us learn as children is often forgotten as adults: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” In other words, treat others the way you want to be treated.

By simply adhering to this simple, yet profound, principle we will be there for each other in real and meaningful ways as we step in, step up and lead by example.