Improving Leadership Skills in the Midst of a Climate System

Superstorm Sandy

Weather is an interesting thing. It impacts everyone’s  life each and every day. Most of us get our share of sunny days and rainy days and even some stormy days. And then there are times when it’s either humid or arid outside.

And oh, hurricanes, tsunamis, snow storms, and tornadoes show up too.

When taken in total, the accumulated sum of our weather patterns and atmospheric conditions make up we call our climate. And climate affects people and what they do.

Storms a’ Brewin’

Internal interactions of climate are points of discussion among thought leaders, scientists, and critically alert investigators because of the impacts seen in major weather shifts.

Recently, Hurricane Sandy swept away Jersey Shore and much of the U.S.A. Northeast coast causing $85 billion in damages.

Some leaders reacted to the crisis immediately and took charge of the multiple areas of need. Others waited.

Compare and Contrast

Each response came from how they evaluated the situation. Immediate action to rescue those caught unprepared was the response of some. Others were visionaries to find supportive avenues that would be required for the devastation and aftermath.

In the first case the leaders jumped into immediate action.

These were the doers.

In the second case the leaders considered the future implications of what to do next.

These were the thinkers.

Leadership has multiple responses. In the first case, the doers used their acquired skills to help those in need from the tumult of Hurricane Sandy because they had been sufficiently trained.

Their confidence and ability allowed them to reach out and take immediate action. Many feel the ability to react is the only part for leadership.

However, as revealed in the second case, visionary leadership evaluated future impacts.

>>> So this begs the questionHow does one improve their leadership skills in the midst of a climate system?

Leading the Future

Hurricane Sandy will have Future Impacts

New questions arise for the leadership along the East Coast and for those who lost much.

Getting serious questions:

  • How to rebuild?
  • What is worth the investments?
  • How to help so many?
  • How long will the difficulties encountered last?
  • What resources are available?
  • Where to go?
  • Will this get better?

Getting serious answers:

To answer this, leadership skills need improvement in the midst of climate systems. So, what does that mean? First,

  • Identify today’s problem, tomorrows and five years from now.
  • Express what the most significant people concerns, such as what is the safest…
  • Outline available resources, potential resources and future resources …

Leading Right Now

Every day smaller problems are successfully solved. For example, a student attending first day of class notes that the laptop is difficult to carry on the bus ride home.

This problem is not going to last in the future so the workarounds are not drastic.

Going to a store to look at other carrying bags seems like a good resolution. This future leader has identified and responded to his needs assessment. In the same way, a needs assessment is necessary to account for the future of those hit by Hurricane Sandy.

To see with certainty a good leader will prepare for the worst case scenario.

Finding Solutions – It Takes a Plan

If you want to know if you are really able to make good decisions in a devastating situation ask yourself a few questions like these:

  • How well did you handle the little hiccups like the student carrying his laptop?
  • Have you a plan of action; what about the future?
  • What steps are missing to getting your plan on paper and into action?

I share effective tools to help prepare for crisis in my management programs to support leaders who want proactive in their strategic plans.

Q: So then, what is the best use of the $85 billion estimated for the cleanup of Hurricane Sandy?

A: Please post your comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts!


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Loreen Sherman
Loreen Sherman is CEO of Star-Ting Inc | Speaker and OD & Leadership Specialist
She serves clients with Strategic Advice to Executives
Email | LinkedIn | TwitterWeb | Corporate | Booking | ☎ 877.896.7292

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On Leadership, Planning, and Action

Leadership Planning

Many leaders wake up in the morning and jump straight into action. They are ready to take charge, ready for success, and ready for results. They often “feel” just about ready for anything!

But often, the only thing they are ready for is mediocrity.

The Fallacy of Ready

Unfortunately for many leaders, from newbies to the seasoned ones, “being ready” is just a feeling they have inside of them and doesn’t really match the challenges they are going to face on any given day.

Because they FEEL ready, they mistaking think that they ARE ready.

Actually BEING ready means that:

  • You fully understand you vision
  • You know the steps to take on your mission
  • You know what resources you need to use and balance to reach your planned goals

Believe me, BEING ready is the only true way to authentically FEELING ready.

Anything else is just a feel-good fantasy that leads to unfinished work, lost opportunities, and mediocre results.

Leading Change – It Takes a Plan

If you want to know if you are really ready to lead people to reach your goals, rather than feeling ready, ask yourself a few questions like these:

  • Are you ready to solidify your business leadership?
  • How developed is your leadership action guide?
  • What steps are missing to getting your plan on paper and into action?

Here are some very effective tools that I use to help you answer these questions with Conflict Scenarios and Leadership Elements 

Motivating Change

There are 3 important leadership elements to motivate change:

  • Differentiation
  • Vision
  • Preparation

Each of these leadership elements is part of the leaders action guide. Learn how these elements can create a culture of growth.

3 Leadership Challenges for Change

1) Knowing When to Be Different

The ability to balance ‘when to stand out and when to differentiate’ or to ‘blend in as a strong team supporter’ is a leadership challenge.

The key to team leadership is co-operation and collaboration.

If you collaborate as a team player then accolades from the executive management will follow.

But what if you see something that is not working?

Does this make collaboration difficult?

Not in some organizational settings where different perspectives are encouraged. However, often this is not the case and an opposing dialogue and a different perspective creates conflict.

Conflict is unavoidable when clashes of perception arise if not dealt with in a proper way.

Leadership Scenario

For example, high performance teams recognize how important safety is.

Perhaps a driller forgot to remove handles and the bottom of a vessel is leaking. This is clearly a matter of safety but what happens when the report is a near miss instead of a hazard?

Certainly, the differences of perspective cause concern for the team leader.

The dilemma rises in the ability to foresee consequences and forecast the grade of severity of the problem. A team leader desires to end conflict but sometimes other matters are more serious. The question becomes should the leader speak out, report the concern or not.

Change demands scrutiny.

2) How to See with Certainty

The problem is that even with the safest equipment and the best evaluations other environmental factors are significant influences. A minor incident such as in the above example of a driller forgetting to remove handles could lead into a catastrophic accident under the right circumstances.

To see with certainty a team leader must prepare for the worst case scenario.

No “crystal ball” is 100% correct; however certain determinations can reduce risk which in turns increases a favorable outcome.

  • For example, to wear proper safety equipment, in industrial operations reduces the risk of injury.
  • Executive leadership plans higher safety by eliminating potential pitfalls.
  • Examine ‘near misses’ for ways to intervene and prevent serious damage from occurring.
  • Follow-up and evaluation reduces harmful exposure to potential danger; a Safety Awareness Program helps increase safety in the workplace.

3) How to Prepare

Preparation is the single biggest reason leaders succeed.

My mantra is this:

“Leading is a Planned Action.”

To succeed one must prepare. Safety equipment checked, minor incidents reported and near misses examined.

There are millions of ways for businesses to fail. Leaders aware that they are not omnipresent or omnipotent but restricted by their limitations can feel powerless.

Restricted by the vast power in the environment and surrounding events and circumstances that they cannot control can cause uncertainty.

Q: So then, should leaders give up?

A: No.

Instead, recognize limitations to increase the opportunities for success.

Planning Leadership Success

Congratulations! You have just taken your first step planning your leadership. Now you have 3 leadership elements to help you face your leadership challenges.

Certain conditions need a leader to stand and differentiate yourself.

Vision comes from a careful evaluation of as many factors as possible. The best way to prepare is to plan your action steps. The dividends that this investment in leadership development will pay off for decades!

So where is your leadership action plan? What are the steps you need to take to successfully arrive at your planned destination? What is missing in your toolkit to insure success? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Never miss an issue of Linked 2 Leadership, subscribe today here.
Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Loreen Sherman is CEO of Star-Ting Inc., Speaker, and OD & Leadership Specialist
She serves clients with Custom Publishing and Modular Skills Packages
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Booking | 877.896.7292

Image Sources:


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