3 leadership lessons comms pros should take from an extraordinary year

What are your biggest takeaways from the many crises of 2020? Two executive coaches share the top lessons they have gleaned from their work with leaders at companies large and small.

In March 2020, the world came to a screeching halt.  Many businesses were forced to pivot and look for different ways to prosper and drive revenue. It was a wake-up call to create new ways of doing business.

One year ago, we were forced to pivot too.  We went into virtual Zoom coaching and started doing workshops and webinars instead of in-person leadership off-site programs.  We shifted from looking into our client’s eyes and reading their body language to embracing screens and leading from our living rooms.

We have had the opportunity to work with so many different companies this year who have not only survived but thrived during a year of massive uncertainty.  We saw many businesses embrace creativity, resilience and courage as they embarked on a new way of doing business.

We wanted to share with you the three key lessons that we found with all of our clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.  Our clients led the way to success post-2020 and we were happy to help.

1. We are all human. 2020 was the great equalizer. We had to learn to honor and embrace the blurring of boundaries between work and life. Kids and dogs were joining Zooms and we were learning how to breathe and laugh at the interruptions.

2. We can be productive from home. Years ago, we thought we all had to be in the offices every day to get anything done. What we realized is that there are many people and many professions that can work even more efficiently from home than ever before.

3. Leaders who paved the way with honesty and empathy were the ones who have created success for the future. Authentic leaders inspired confidence with their employees and led the way this year more than ever.

These leaders admit that they don’t have all the answers and were able to bring their teams together to look for solutions rather than focusing on the problems.

As we move into the future of work, it’s important to take the lessons from the past year and to bring the best practices into the new hybrid way of thinking.  Our world will never look the same and a distributed workforce will continue to evolve, just as we do.  The key is to continue to lead with humility, honesty and to meet people where they are, whether that is in the office or at home.



Mary Olson-Menzel is the founder and CEO of MVP Executive Search & Coaching and co-founder of Spark Insight Coaching.

Mel Shahbazian is co-founder of Spark Insight Coaching and is a senior executive coach with MVP Executive Search and Coaching.


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