Leadership During Uncertainty: My 3 Most Important Steps During the Pandemic; written by Gabe Cooley

The pandemic has brought on many different outcomes and unknowns for many of us. We gained more time with family and pets. We were reminded of how much we value our children’s teachers and schools more than we realized. We’ve traded wine socials for zoom happy hours.

And although sometimes the days can seem to blend together, I look back and realize that these few months have felt like they’ve gone by much quicker than I imagined when we were first mandated to distance from everyone we knew outside of our home base. I am fortunate – my family is healthy and safe and my employees and their families are healthy and safe. I’m glad to hear that my clients have been well too. I know many others have not been so lucky.

The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic tested my leadership abilities and our business. During this uncertain time, I learned to embrace the unexpected as a leader and member of our community. Here is what I learned in the past few months.

Communication is key.

The most important first step I took when the shutdown began was to speak with my employees. We jumped on a conference call and I told everyone the truth, everything I knew, and everything I didn’t yet. First, I let everyone know they still had jobs because we had enough money saved for times like this; I’ve learned from my past ventures that it’s so important to have funds put away to protect my business, and my employees, if things hit us like a ton of bricks.

Stability is imperative.

My second point is very related to my first one. I understood how critical it is to have a stable foundation and savings. There have been moments I’ve felt uneasy, especially as the world was still figuring out how to comprehend what was going on in real time. I was able to find some peace in knowing that I was able to provide security — at the very least financial security — for my employees.

Lead from the front.

During a time of uncertainty, we look to our leaders, whether that’s for support, reassurance, direction, or to get a pulse of what is going on and how our community will be protected. I believe in leading from the front. That means, as a founder and CEO, it’s my top priority to keep everyone safe so I practice what I preach. I wear a mask. I am selective of who I see and where I go. I keep my distance to protect others. I try to do my part.

We’ve sent procedures and protocols to all employees about social distancing measures — from covering our faces, staying at least 6 feet apart, washing our hands, etc. If I don’t do it, then others will likely slip up and the hard work we put in place to keep everyone safe falls apart. The smallest actions like these help us maintain that we survive — in terms of health, and economically.

Stay safe out there. We look forward to seeing you and working with you from a safe distance.

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