Five Ways Everyone Can Step Up and Be a Leader Right Now

Published on 4/14/2020 by Heidi Green

Categories: Leadership

Tags: leadership


Leadership doesn’t require a title. That sounds pretty “warm & fuzzy,” but it really is true. Businesses around the world are seeing leaders emerge in every role to help their coworkers and customers during a trying time. There’s an opportunity for each of us to make a positive impact. 

It doesn’t take big actions to make a real difference.

While big, dramatic actions are wonderful, they’re not always attainable for everyone. Instead, think about the small ways you can make a difference, or have a positive impact on someone who needs it right now. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Be forgiving of small mistakes.

We’re all on edge and feeling stressed right now. It’s only natural as we wade through uncharted waters. It’s a scary time! Showing some grace and being accepting of mistakes here and there can go a long way. Whether it’s a missed meeting or a delayed assignment, be willing to gloss over those tiny blips. 

2. Go beyond your job description.

It’s really an “all hands on deck” situation right now for many organizations. As we all try to figure out where and what we can do to keep things moving forward while the world is seemingly on hold, now’s not the time to be nitpicky about tasks that fall outside your job description. While you don’t want to be taken advantage of, your willingness to step up and help wherever needed shows your colleagues that you are here for all of them. 

3. Show gratitude. 

Perhaps one of your colleagues is dealing with a sick relative. Another may have three kids at home who need homeschooling while your coworker is also trying to get work done.  Still another may have a spouse who lost a job recently. 

You may not know everything your coworkers are dealing with right now, and you may not be able to help every one of them with their challenges. But, you CAN show them gratitude for their contributions. The best leaders show their appreciation for team contributions. 

Whether it’s calling or texting a “thank you” for completing that task or going even further to send individual messages to your colleagues in order to thank them for something specific they have done in the past, your gratitude will give them a reason to smile amidst what may be chaotic. 

4. Suggest a virtual happy hour.

Whether your company happy hour was a regular date on the calendar or not, why not suggest everyone get together with a drink or a snack to talk about fun things this Friday? We all need to let off some steam, and even it’s possible to relax and have fun with your colleagues -- even from home! 

If you’re looking to get especially creative, you could watch Tiger King or another buzz-worthy show/movie together using Netflix Party. You could also play an online game together as a team. Or maybe you could ask for recipes to prepare in advance so everyone enjoys the same drinks or snacks. 

5. Ask how people are doing. 

This seems so ridiculously simple, yet can have a profound impact on your colleagues. We’re all in “go” mode, trying to keep up business as usual and get work done. But as we’ve mentioned throughout, it’s a stressful time! You don't have to dwell on the challenges we’re all facing right now, but the best leaders keep things moving forward while also acknowledging and caring about the feelings of their coworkers. 

Maybe it’s a quick question at the start of a Zoom call, or a quick message in Slack. Or maybe you go out of your way to send texts to each colleague and check-in. However you are able to reach out, just taking the time to do it shows that you care and see the big picture in the lives of your peers.

How can you be a leader today?

There are so many opportunities to step up and make a positive impact on your coworkers and your company today. What will you do? 

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