Economic reset buttons will soon be pressed. When they do, there will be thousands of opportunities for women leaders to showcase their strengths. Businesses will be hobbled by months of low or no sales. Millions will return to work. Until the medical pieces are in place to manage and prevent COVID-19, some will have anxiety about social distancing, touching contaminated surfaces, and using public transportation. Service industries will struggle to reassure clients that their shops are COVID-19 free. Thousands of businesses will need to be turned around.
Turning around businesses requires leaders that are ready and able to tackle new and unique challenges. European Central Bank President, Christine Lagarde urges women to see crisis situations as opportunities whereas men often shun them "because they fear failure." Skilled, aspiring women should raise their hands because chances for women to demonstrate they belong in the executive suite don't come every day. This is an assignment where gender bias takes a back seat. The harsh judgments female leaders characteristically face will be temporarily suspended, allowing women to showcase that they lead differently, and many of these differences are very effective in a business crisis.
Turnarounds involve restoring financial health by motivating employees, driving sales, managing budgets, and inspiring innovation. Restoring financial health is an area where women leaders tend to fare well. Perhaps after years of making less money than men, women have been forced to become budgeters and are now better at finding cost-effective ways to get things done.
When it comes to the top line, this is an opportunity where women's reputation for caring about the greater good can kick in. Right now, the greater good means keeping everyone employed. Sales must be kickstarted. Women leaders have always faced more scrutiny, and this has encouraged habits that minimize mistakes, like being mindful of important details, for example, scheduling marketing campaigns that resonate, monitoring goals for sales and marketing, and switching gears when something's not working. Most importantly, motivating employees and getting teams to rally around a cause, like restoring healthy financials. Women leaders generally do all of this better than their male counterparts.
Management is a people's game, and women leaders have a reputation as people persons. Men are typically inclined to be impersonal. Men manage, women lead. Employees will have endured a very scary period. Freedoms taken for granted were annihilated. Some fear the lingering spread of the virus and a repeat of shelter-in-place. Leading an anxious workforce requires many behaviors that are more common to women leaders, like empathy, organization, thinking in terms of we not I, flexibility, receptivity to new ideas, and inclusivity.
Adequately managing employee anxiety about safety now includes clean workspaces and transportation. Tackling this is best served by leaders open to ideas from everyone. Some, like flexible work arrangements that permit distancing and addressing fears of public transportation, will increase the organizational challenges for leading productively. Women leaders are generally more organized. Some attribute this to years of organizing children, home, work, and in general having more responsibilities to manage in terms of work-life balance. Origins notwithstanding, being organized will pay dividends managing the complexities of a combined physical and virtual workforce.
Muslim-Americans experienced increased discrimination after 9/11, and, as unfortunate as this may be, the same is now anticipated for Asian-Americans. But turnarounds require all hands on deck. Women leaders have a better reputation for building inclusive, collaborative teams. Diverse teams that are inclusively led deliver superior outcomes.
Empathy, organization, we not I, flexibility, receptivity, and inclusivity are great qualities for motivating teams — especially now. Motivational leaders drive productivity more than the command and control leadership style common to male leaders. Fear is not the great motivator. Increasing productivity is essential to the turnaround, and female leaders have an abundance of inherent strengths to be great motivational leaders, especially in times of high anxiety.
Employees will also crave a leader that offers solid directions that restores purpose to their lives and encourages a belief that their employment will be secure. Confinement will amplify the desire to be part of a team. Women leaders tend to be better at collaboratively digging in and objectively evaluating data to build plans with believable goals, and then managing team execution until the end. These behaviors contrast with typically independent-oriented male leaders that have a habit of dismissing data that conflicts with their views. The completion of strategic plans will be key to making a company respond well post-pandemic.
Turning companies around requires innovation, and the economic restart after COVID-19 can require tons. For many, what constitutes a successful business will change. The Tylenol murders in 1980 inspired a sea of change in innovative packaging. COVID-19 is inspiring something similar for the packaging and delivery of products and services. It is also generating opportunities to develop innovative solutions to replace products manufactured overseas that are now seen as critical to national security. Studies have shown that women leaders tend to be better at inspiring creativity and innovation. Why? Perhaps unselfish tendencies to give credit where it's due and to think creatively when managing limited resources.
COVID-19 is creating thousands of opportunities for aspirational women to step up to the plate. Skilled women need to raise their hands, because nothing could be more important for the greater good than participating in the success of this economic reset. As a bonus, we can find more women promoted "permanently" into senior leadership. Ladies, let's seize the moment.
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The current state of the world definitely affected us in many ways, it made us stay locked up in our homes away from all the social events and seemingly fun stuff. But the responsibilities didn't just vanish into thin air, they are still there, waiting to be organized and prepared. Times are super hectic and you are probably not in the mood to think about the foreseeable future, but there are ways to turn in into a fun time. Starting a journal or making a simple calendar can bring you peace, use that creative time to yourself and relax while doing it. Grab your colored pencils, stickers, scraps, and everything in between, your inner DIY queen is about to jump out!
Fill in the blank
So probably the easiest way to start when it comes to making your own calendar is by simply printing a blank template found online. This way you'll have a base, a blank canvas if you will. Take all the materials that you have in your house, like washi tapes, sticky notes, glittery colorful pens and anything you can think of that could work as a decoration on your calendar. And go at it! There are no rules when it comes to decorating, it's super personal and it can differ from person to person.
The only real advice you'll need is to leave some space while decorating, don't overdo it since it will clutter and distract you from the written parts. Finding the perfect template that will suit your aesthetic is extremely easy and fast, a simple google search could get you whatever you want and the best part is, it's free! There are many printable options out there, so don't worry about not finding something you'd like, the possibilities are endless and you'll find just the right calendar you imagined!
Start from scratch
If you don't have a printer at home or you're just determined to make the calendar yourself, there are awesome ways to make the best and most unique personalized calendar there is. This gives you the full freedom to do whatever you can think of, want to make a calendar from old newspapers, do it! Want to cut out a certain shape and disguise the calendar as an art piece in your kitchen, why not?
Nothing is stopping you when it comes to unleashing your creative side, use everything that you can get your hands on, think outside the box, don't be afraid to experiment. Making a calendar from scratch is an amazing opportunity to explore your artistic side, especially if you've been busy with work and responsibilities. This is a great excuse to do something creative, at the end of the day you are making it for the purpose of being more organized and having everything mapped out and planned. So make this time, the best time possible, be free and create!
Mix and match
Since there are absolutely no rules when making any diy project at home, what's stopping you from making the ultimate, super personal calendar! If you have basic knowledge in photoshop, you can even modify the blank calendars you got online, add pictures of your loved ones and family, maybe your pets or anything you like, and then print it out. Or you can print the blank template right away and add pictures or polaroids later on by using some washi tape.
Also, you can even paint over the printed blank calendar, this is a good option for those who aren't as skilled, so you'll have a base to start, just dip in your paintbrush in some acrylic or watercolor paints (or whatever you have around the house) and go for it. This is a great way to start doing artsy projects while still having some form of direction and help.
Sure keeping your priorities at bay and making plans and notes for everything is important...but the heart of this project has to be your willingness to turn something as boring and blank as a calendar into something spectacular. This calendar should proudly be up on your kitchen wall, so loud and colorful it just draws your attention to it.
If the calendar is decorated, personalized, and fun to look at, maybe it will inspire you to look forward to some events or responsibilities even if you didn't feel like it in the first place. So be creative and free, there are no rules so just go at it. With everything that happened this year, try to be positive and find little joys in seemingly insignificant things like diy calendars!