Women Are Great Leaders in Times of Crisis

Two weeks ago seems like a lifetime ago. I miss and grieve for some sense of normalcy.

Human loss at the hands of the coronavirus is unspeakably tragic. The implications for our businesses may present opportunities for some business owners, but, for others, the economic impact for our companies may be devastating.

Studies show that certain feminine characteristics and leadership traits make women great leaders in times of crisis. Some of these include: a high EQ, exceptional relational behaviors, good listening skills, a desire to form consensus, an astute attention to risk, and tactfulness.

Women are uniquely qualified to plan, manage and lead our companies and communities through the global economic crisis and humanitarian challenges we are facing. We have the opportunity to leverage our global community of exceptionally talented and resilient women across the globe to help each other, share information and collaboratively manage through this evolving world crisis.

“In a time of crisis, we all have the potential to morph up to a new level and do things we never thought possible.”  Stuart Wilde, British Writer

I will admit that some days my brain is foggy, I am forgetful, vacillate between a bit of panic and denial because this all seems so surreal. I give myself permission to own the emotions I am feeling. However, I must face the realities of today. I know that my mission is to assist others in need, including our clients, and to lead my business through this tumultuous time.

I am inspired by reimagining what could be transformational in my business. The key?

Embracing the characteristics of a highly effective leader during this crisis:

Live on the front end of reality. Recognize the significance of events and implications to the business and workforce.

Be courageous and calm. Inspire positivity, “we are in this together.” Exude strong relationship management skills. Communicate effectively to move others in the needed direction, foster teamwork and manage conflicts.

Act with immediacy driving to actionable intelligence. Gain a quick understanding of emerging and anticipated issues, potential causes and effects with a high sense of urgency.

Utilize discipline and creativity. Strategically and tactically assess options by collaborating with stakeholders. Cultivate creative thinking and fosters a sense of common purpose.

Be Decisive. Make tough decisions on immediate challenges.

Take risks in the face of risks.  Take calculated risks with unknown outcomes.

As women chief executives, let’s collaborate and put forth suggestions on how we can assist each other to manage through this unprecedented, evolving world crisis and come out the other end stronger, better prepared leaders.

For more crisis leadership stories like these check out the COVID-19: Leading Through Crisis page on YPO.org. All YPO members can find breaking news, offer insights and view current discussions happening about COVID-19 impact within the YPO community on the YPO member-only platform.

Carrie Stone is President of cStone & Associates, an international executive search firm providing comprehensive executive and board advisory and recruiting services. She is a sought after and trusted advisor to clients, CEOs and boards providing insights on complex business issues and strategies for transitions, succession planning, organizational alignment, development, talent acquisition and compensation. She co-founded the San Diego Chapter of Women Corporate Directors, a global organization of over 3,000 women members serving on over 6,000 boards worldwide. Stone is a highly requested mentor, coach and speaker for forums including National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD.) Prior to cStone & Associates, Carrie served as a Venture Partner with Enterprise Partners Venture Capital, a USD1.1 billion venture fund investing in disruptive technologies and biotechnology. Her prior CEO leadership and senior executive experience includes consumer product, multi-channel and entertainment businesses. She Co-Founded San Diego Social Venture Partners, an early pioneer in not for profit venture philanthropy. She is a champion for underserved youth serving as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, a volunteer for Just in Time Foster Youth.