Your Finest Hour: The Impact of COVID-19 in Your Daily Leadership

What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

For the foreseeable future, we are now living in a new normal. The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has the world on edge as the virus spreads and death tolls climb. Be it directly or indirectly, everyone has been impacted by it.

Your leadership in this new normal is important. Whether your occupational field is in healthcare, government, retail, financial services, education, religious, corporate, etc. the signals you send as a leader make a difference.

I’m reminded of Churchill’s leadership during World War II. England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation, he asked them to picture in their minds a parade that he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war.

First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky. Last of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, ‘And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?’ And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, ‘We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.’”

Just as Churchill had to rally the people around a common cause, so too is COVID-19 a challenge all of us face. It’s no respecter of persons. We are all in this together as it were -with our faces to the coal.

What’s needed to lead in the new normal? Here’s a start.

Lead in the new normal with a steady hand

In this new normal, we need leaders with a steady hand. We need leaders with eyes wide open and clear thinking. We need leaders in the new normal who exude confidence and calm.

Leadership Tip: In this new normal you people want steady leadership.

Lead in the new normal with courage

A new normal like ours will require courage to not just lead with a steady hand but speak the truth with authority. It will require courage, boldness, and at times, restraint. Courageous leadership in times of adversity will calm fears and inspire hope.

Leadership Tip: In this new normal, your people are looking for courageous leadership.

Lead in the new normal with facts

As we see so often in times like this, there’s the information overload that’s accessible 24/7. Justifiably so, people want information. As you lead in this new normal, be responsible and communicate with your people factually. When people look to your leadership in these times, be the voice of reason and facts.

Leadership Tip: In this new normal, your people want facts more than hype.

Lead in the new normal with patience

It’s been said that in times of adversity, leaders aren’t made, they are revealed. Your past experiences, both good and bad, have prepared you for moments like this. It’s time for you to step up in your leadership. But in doing so, exercise patience and understanding with those around you. People may be traveling the same road as you, but they may not have all been on it for as long. Let others both learn from and be reassured by your leadership and experience.

Leadership Tip: In this new normal your people need your patience as you navigate through uncertain times.

Lead in the new normal with compassion

Now more than ever, we need leaders who will step up and model compassion. So many people have been impacted by COVID-19 and many are in a bad place.  Leverage your leadership to rally around those in need. This can be our finest hour if we step up with compassionate hearts.

Leadership Tip: In this new normal, your people need to see compassion in action. We must look out for one another.

Final Thoughts

Even though we are living in a new normal in uncertain times, I believe we will come through it strong. Your leadership in this new normal is essential. When it’s all over, let it be said that you rose to the occasion and led with clarity and confidence.

This is your finest hour.


Doug Dickerson
Doug Dickerson
DOUG has been speaking to audiences in the U.S. and overseas for more than 30 years. Doug knows how to spin a story, make you laugh, and how to challenge your traditional ways of thinking about leadership. Most of all, Doug is committed to helping you grow as a leader. Doug is a graduate of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and studied Clinical Pastoral Education at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina. While his leadership expertise has its roots in ministry and teaching. His background also includes public relations and business. Doug understands the necessity of leadership development and why creating a leadership culture in your organization is critical to your success. He is the author of four leadership books including: Leaders Without Borders, 9 Essentials for Everyday Leaders, Great Leaders Wanted, It Only Takes a Minute: Daily Inspiration for Leaders on the Move, and Leadership by the Numbers. As a speaker, Doug delivers practical and applicable leadership insights with a dose of humor and authenticity that endears him to a wide range of audiences. Doug is a John Maxwell Team member.

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  1. Thank you Doug, for this well-defined article, keeping in mind the urgent need for leadership qualities in every human walking this earth to come to the fore.

    I say these words because, like it or not, each one of us must explore within, and come up with appropriate, actionable solutions to prevent further spread of this terrible pandemic any further. The onus is on all of us, and not just a handful of leaders that could galvanize huge swaths of support. The need of the hour is to exercise as much patience as restraint, patience in rushing to decisions that we may regret at a later date, and resistance against the urge to horde things we do not need in the very near future, especially medical supplies, food, groceries, and articles of daily use.

    Of course, compassion has always been the most important human trait that helps us connect with others. But for lack of this quality, we might as well live in the jungle to become the meal of a wild beast. At least one good deed will thus go to our credit.

    Warm Regards!

  2. I personally believe that the characteristics required of a leader in these circumstances are those of the resilient leader.
    In fact, there is a need of a person who knows how to understand and anticipate risks, who knows how to interact with the most varied stakeholders and demonstrates flexibility and commitment also on the ethical front.
    Resilient leaders are genuinely empathetic, are compassionately with the employees, customers, and their broader ecosystems. Yet, resilient leaders must simultaneously take a hard, rational line to protect financial performance from the invariable softness that accompanies such disruptions.
    Resilient leaders know how to interpret long-term trends and anticipate trends in order to implement efficient reactions. Resilient leaders take decisive action — with courage — based on imperfect information, knowing that expediency is essential. Resilient leaders seize the narrative at the outset, being transparent about current realities — including what they don’t know — while also painting a compelling picture of the future that inspires others to persevere.
    Employees and customers are first and foremost citizens who need to find a center of gravity in the company that helps them direct their actions in the professional sphere but at the same time is a clear and reassuring reference point also for social life.

    • Dear Aldo, once again you have displayed your uncany leadership with this excellent observation. Looking at the current developments in your country, it is impossible to imagine a person of your caliber to be available to share these valuable insights while “Rome burns,” so to say. Your focus on resilience brings out the necessity, on the part or every one of us to show courage, and not surrender to the worsening situation. It is leaders like yourself that carry the smarts to mobilize all possible preventive measures and showing to others what our positive thoughts can do to help us survive, specially at this critical juncture.

      Warm Regards, with Prayers!

    • Thanks Bharat,
      you always find important words from which your humanity, competence, experience transpires. I don’t want to be a victim, but in my life I had to know the commitment it takes to deal with difficult situations and thank God today I just have to stay at home while the type of leader I described, however, will have a lot of serious problems to deal with.
        But if he has already demonstrated those qualities to his collaborators, he will make it.
      Just as I pray that everyone, all over the world, will find the strength, the sense of responsibility, the conviction to overcome this difficult moment.
        Thank you!!!

    • I salute you, Dear Aldo Sir; you are a true gentleman, an inspiring leader, and above all, a seasoned professional that displays an amazing character!

      Thank you