Leadership in a high drag environment

Drag. Airplanes experience drag as an opposing force of thrust. (Pilots: do you remember the two other forces?) 

If you have ever flown commercially, you have experienced drag. Remember back to your last flight. Remember when the crew dropped the landing gear on approach and you could hear the increased noise and feel the vibration? Ever experienced the similar effects from the wing spoilers? It’s drag. 

Drag slows airplanes down. Drag works on people the same way. It slows us down. We are in a high drag environment right now. Covid-19 is rapidly changing how we live and how we work. Anxiety is high. Fear is high.

As leaders, we need to be aware of this high drag environment and its effect on our team members. An airplane overcomes drag with additional thrust. Many of us are doing the same thing. We are expending high energy to keep up with work, be strong for our families, manage our anxiety, and calm our fears. It’s exhausting.

So, what’s the Tuesday tactic? Amp up communication. Check in as a team once per day. Check in with your individual team members at least once per week. Talk about what is happening. Be honest. Be transparent. We want to show them that this is not something they have to endure alone.

We are in this together.

by Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan is the Head Coach at Sandcastle Company, a Seattle-based leadership training organization. His first book, Future Leader: Rebooting Leadership to Win the Millennial and Tech Future [link], is now available. Jonathan regularly writes and speaks about The New Leader Way, leadership resilience, and the future of work. He has years of leadership experience in both the public and private sectors, a master's degree from Seattle University, and professional coach training from the University of Miami.

Filed under: Leadership

Published on March 17, 2020

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