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Learn from 2020 and Lead the Way in 2021

February 26, 2021

In 2020, nearly nothing we anticipated came to fruition as we had expected. Yet this past year, maybe even without recognizing it, adapting to the multitude of missteps and new directions may have helped us prepare for tomorrow’s challenges. So, as we ponder what 2021 could bring, obstacles and opportunities alike, we should consider how we can take what we’ve learned and apply those teachings in order to lead the way for what lies ahead.

Five Tips Leaders Can Embrace for a Resilient and Rewarding New Year

1. Leaders must learn to let go, live, and lead with intention. If we learned anything from the year that just passed, it’s that we can’t control everything. Often, we can’t control anything, but we do have the ability to pause, pivot, and keep people, including ourselves, on the path to prosperity. Intention provides the impetus for leaders to move forward, even when those steps are a bit unsteady. We must re-establish our commitment to those who depend on our example. By acknowledging one another and letting people know they are not alone, we remind others that we are all in this together.

2. Check-in with yourself and your team, so no one checks out. The burdens of burnout as a result of excessive remote work is all too real under the current circumstances. Job duties are juggling in the air with at-home responsibilities, and it’s just a matter of time before the tipping point proves problematic. Stopping to remind your team to set reasonable goals strategizes group success for the short term and long haul, ultimately increasing the well-being of the people we work alongside.

3. Authentic actions inspire real responses. In Viktor Frankl’s incredible book Man’s Search for Meaning he shared, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Actively listening, engaging, and acknowledging how people respond to situations promote a genuine sense of living in the moment and learning from one another. Recognizing another’s point of view and not responding reactively can create real connections.

4. Integrity is essential; let no one be invisible. If you are a relationship-driven person, working alone from home and only seeing people on Zoom could have a harmful impact. No matter our personality or preferences, we all typically want to be “seen,” with our contributions appreciated and recognized. Without this crucial sense of connection, people can feel a lack of purpose and support. Select a means to provide a safe space to make people feel visible and valued. Even when we know something is problematic for a team member, we must dig in and find out how to help.

5. Portray a world past the pandemic. Leaders must paint a powerful picture to create a new reality for their teams. No one wants to feel like they can easily be replaced and a leader’s support indicates a sense of security in their people. Talking with your team about what you see moving forward and how you intend to use the “spark” you see in an individual is paramount. Of course, you might not see a spark in everyone, but as leaders we must ask ourselves, is there no spark there, or have I not taken the time to look?

We know that this global experience will impact us long after returning to some resemblance of a new normal. We can’t change what has happened, but we should examine every encounter and determine how we can use these trials to improve how we lead and to inspire those who depend on us. Despite all odds, we can show others not only how to survive, but how to thrive as well. The invitation to make an impact is ours for the taking.

Sandi Coyne-Gilbert is an accomplished leader with experience in both the education and nonprofit sectors. Coyne-Gilbert specializes in working with adult learners and is enthusiastic about instilling a passion for lifelong learning in her students. Her work with at-risk and marginalized groups provided her with unique insights into the power of education for people in transition. Beyond the educational field, Coyne-Gilbert also has experience in marketing and nonprofit leadership. Most notably, she was one of the driving forces behind the development of the Ronald McDonald House in Springfield, MA. Coyne-Gilbert brings her experiences to the classroom as program director for the master’s degree in Organizational Leadership at Goodwin University. Are you ready to make a lasting impact? 800.889.3282 or learn more at:

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