It should come as no surprise to anyone that living through one of our generation’s first major pandemic requires the strength of great leaders. Leaders who are able to continue driving our nation, our states, our jobs, and our families to continue through this time of darkness. According to Northouse (2016), leadership is the act of influencing those around us to accomplish a common goal and having the self-confidence to know that their influence is pushing the team in the right direction. As a leader in the military, it is critical for me to be able to influence my team to follow the direction of those appointed over us, and ensure everyone makes it through COVID-19 times healthy and able to carry out our mission accordingly. I have to have the self-confidence in my decisions of driving my Airmen to meet our goals and gaining their confidence in my abilities to lead them and knowing that I have their safety in mind. The moment that our leadership team lose the confidence of our team is the moment our organization begins to degrade and lose its effectiveness.
According to PSU WC lesson 2 commentary (2020), good leaders must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and be able to modify their behavioral traits accordingly. The five-factor model of personality lists the five major dimensions that have been shown to produce effective leaders: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion (PSU WC, L. 2, 2020). I believe the most significant trait of these to be able to display during this pandemic for a leader is neuroticism. Having emotional stability and not being prone to freak out under pressure has proven in my work center to gain the confidence of my subordinates. We have seen leaders that treat every piece of COVID news as a world disaster leads the team into a frantic state and begins to degrade confidence of the leaders among the team. Explaining what is happening with the current events while also presenting a way forward with a cool, calm, and collected game plan ensures my teams success while building their confidence in my abilities.
Additionally, leaders must be able to display traits of determination, integrity and self-confidence during these times (Northouse, 2016). Integrity is not only a pivotal trait of an effective leader, but also one of the Air Force’s core values. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is around to know the difference. During these times, it is easy for leaders to take advantage of the COVID work situation, as it is apparent many leaders are doing across the military. Hunkering down and “teleworking” while making their workers come in and work as normal. Our leadership team decided to lead with integrity through this pandemic and ensure that our team knows that we are in this fight right alongside them. While staying as safe as we can through split shifts, we were able to carry out our mission with the team and gain further confidence even though we could have also taken advantage of the situation, like many others have done.
This global pandemic has shown that we must also have leaders who are determined enough to continue pushing forward, even when the odds are stacked. Determined leaders possess the desire to complete their duties through hardship while also displaying the characteristics of persistence, dominance and drive (Northouse, 2016). Persistence and determination drive a leader to keep pushing through the challenges thrown at us during this pandemic while maintaining a mindset that still draws people into the team. Remaining positive when things aren’t always going our way gain be the difference between making or breaking a work center when times get tough.
Effective leadership is a critical aspect of maneuvering an organization through a global pandemic. Effective leaders are able to positively influence a group towards a common goal while inspiring confidence in their decisions (Northouse, 2016). Leaders must be aware of their strengths and know how to avoid weaknesses that are detrimental to the organization as a whole (PSU WC, L. 2, 2020). Determination, integrity, and self confidence are all traits a good leader is able to display, specifically determination (Northouse, 2016). Finally, determination drives a desire to accomplish a task and during this pandemic is necessary to push a team towards accomplishing their organizational goals. The combination of these traits and concepts are what leaders are made of that teams operating in a COVID climate dream of working around.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice (7th ed.). Los Angeles, Calif.: SAGE.
Pennsylvania State University World Campus (2016). PSYCH 485 Lesson 2: Trait Approach. Retrieved from. https://courses.worldcampus.psu.edu/canvas/fa20/22081–15503/content/03_lesson/printlesson.html