With COVID-19 causing widespread panic, changes, and concerns, I want to bring you some cheer. Our current situation of quarantines, small-group restrictions, and virtual meetings online offers us some unique leadership development opportunities. We all have new opportunities for self-evaluation, personal growth, and society observation.
I have heard people complain about the shortage of supplies at stores. I have heard other people praise the community in which they live for helping each other out when they feel like everyone is in a bind. Here’s a story I heard just today:
A woman I know was trying to find distilled water for her father’s CPAP (if any of you don’t know CPAP, it’s the breathing machine that helps people with sleep apnea continue breathing when their bodies try to stop breathing as they sleep). She couldn’t find any distilled water anywhere. She had looked everywhere she could think of and even considered getting “nursery water” until she realized that “nursery water” has added minerals that could cause CPAP problems. Finally, she posted on a community Facebook group asking for help knowing where she could get distilled water. Within minutes, she had people offering her extra bottles they have and offering to pick up distilled water for her when they found some.
In this time of possible crisis, this woman found leaders who believe in helping the people around them instead of letting “someone else” offer the help. These individuals might not even consider themselves leaders. In truth, they are. A good leader has compassion for those he or she leads. A good leader focuses on how to help and lift those around him or her. A good leader recognizes that times of crisis are times of opportunities to support, comfort, and lead others through peace, comfort, and positivity.
Mr. Rogers once told a story from his childhood that I love. He said that whenever he saw something tragic on TV or in a movie, his mom would say, “Look for the helpers. There will always be helpers… if you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there is hope.” His sentiment is how I see in the COVID-19 situation – an opportunity for all of us to lead by being helpers.
We affect society by affecting our communities one by one starting in our homes, our neighborhoods, at work, and in small groups. As our families see us looking toward country and state leadership and then showing our own helping leadership in our homes, families, neighborhoods, and communities, they will see their own leadership potential in a new light.
We each have the opportunity to become the leaders we would follow and who we most want to be. Please remember that one person can make a difference. Stay safe. Look for the helpers. Be a helper – including in your own home. This will make you a better leader.
I would love to hear about the helpers you have seen. I also would enjoy hearing how recognizing your own desires to help others increases your leadership strengths. Please share with me in the comments.