My leadership style has included a focus on three words that start with “V” for a long while. Having the appropriate vision, being visible and seeing visually have all helped me grow as a leader over the years. During the past few months, I have been leaning on those “V’s” in new ways and discovering that they are more important than ever before.

V is for Vision
Every organization has a vision, but it is the leader’s job to bring that vision to life and help their team see the role they play in making that vision a reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has tasked many leaders with the fortitude to see their vision through unprecedented circumstances. Leaders are now faced with reimagining plans to abide by new restrictions and overcome unique challenges. While unfamiliar, times like these have given leaders a chance to evolve their vision by doing things such as seizing an opportunity or a new idea – demonstrating that as long as leadership remains focused, any vision can survive a few detours. 

V is for Visibility
One of the things that makes for an effective leader is the ability and desire to remain visible inside and outside the organization. Leaders should be seen in the trenches to avoid becoming nothing more than a figurehead, but being transparent and accessible isn’t always easy, though. Pressure to constantly interface with the team can seem overwhelming at times, causing leaders to feel as if they are being pulled in too many directions at once or that they are working in the business rather than on the business. In circumstances like what we are all experiencing now that call for limited visibility, we realize that there is no better way to connect with customers, employees and each other than in-person communication. What was once an occasional inconvenience has proven to be absolutely necessary. In the interim, leaders must hold tight to their goal of being visible. They have to find new ways to remain seen through video chats and socially distant meetings, and remember not to be so quick to take it for granted in the future.

V is for Visually
It is crucial for a leader to see visually. Leaders must be able to see what is going on inside their organization. This requires leaders to physically be present. An employee could feed their supervisor information all day by phone or email, but is this the lens we should always be looking through? You have to trust your management team but you need to remember the old adage, “Trust but verify.” How do you know if your vision and your message are being translated accurately to the front line if you don’t see for yourself? While getting a visual of a person or place has a few more roadblocks than usual, that shouldn’t stop a leader from finding new ways to reach out and see the team.

No matter the obstacles you face, a leader can never shelter in place from their organization. Lean on the three “V’s.” Let them guide you in the good times and in these challenging times. 

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