5 Leadership Lessons My Battle With COVID-19 Taught Me About Leadership

We’ve been battling COVID-19 for a long time now. There was talk of two weeks to flatten the curve. It’s now been close to two years. It doesn’t feel like we’re any closer to winning the battle against COVID.

I had a personal battle with COVID-19 in October of 2021. I had just run my personal best in a half marathon. I was feeling high. I was feeling good. Then, three days later, COVID-19 knocked me flat on my bum.

Man struggling in a body of water

Photo by Kevin Bosc on Unsplash

I remember how it started. I felt dizzy on a Tuesday night. Wednesday, I woke up and told the office I wouldn’t be in. By Friday, I was struggling to walk more than 10 to 20 feet at a time. I even wound up in the emergency room twice for breathing issues.

My fight with COVID-19 wasn’t fun. It lasted for close to three weeks. Even now, I still have endurance issues and some breathing issues.

But, you may be wondering, what does this have to do with leadership? While I was struggling with COVID-19, the battles, the thoughts, even the things I couldn’t do pointed toward leadership. We’re going to look at 5 things my battle with COVID-19 taught me about leadership today.

5 Leadership Lessons My Battle With COVID-19 Taught Me About Leadership

1. Even healthy leaders can become unhealthy:

I mentioned earlier that days prior to being knocked down by COVID-19 that I had run my best half marathon. It’s true, I did. I felt healthy and good. Then I became unhealthy with the illness.

No matter how healthy a leader is, he can quickly become unhealthy. The leaders who make it through know they have to continually do everything they can to be as healthy as possible.

If you get knocked down while leading, rest up. Heal up. Then figure out your return strategy.

2. Leadership impacts everyone differently:

I wasn’t the only one in my household to get COVID-19. My wife also became sick. Thankfully, her battle with COVID was much less severe than mine.

You may think leadership would affect everyone the same. It doesn’t. Some people cannot handle the stress of leading. They crack. Or it might be a team member. The way you communicate to them may not be the way they would like to be communicated to.

Leadership isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. We have to bend and fold when needed. We have to change what we do or how we do things.

3. Having great support is key:

We couldn’t leave our house for more than two weeks due to being sick. This meant grocery shopping was a no-go for us. Thankfully, we had great friends who reached out to us multiple times to see what they could do for us. These friends brought us Ensure, snacks, other foods, and even sent gift cards for delivery services like GrubHub. Without this support, our battle would have been much worse.

Who do you have supporting you while you’re busy leading the organization? Great leaders know they have to have other leaders in positions throughout their organization. These leaders are instrumental in your success. Make sure you have people around you who can support you and the vision of your organization.

4. Control yourself:

COVID-19 seemed to have changed the way I thought and acted. There were times I wanted to say things a Christian should never say. I also wanted to act out in horrible ways. I’m not sure why COVID-19 affected me in this way but it did. I did my best to control the way I treated others during this time. Sadly, I failed. I didn’t treat my wife kindly. I was short, snappy, and rude. I knew better but I didn’t do better.

You will have the opportunity to let your emotions, health, or other things control the way you act. In the end, you control the way you behave. Make sure you’re controlling yourself. Don’t let circumstances, emotions, and other things control you.

5. There are long term effects to leading:

I’m almost two months out of having been diagnosed with COVID-19. Do you know what I’m still dealing with? The long-term effects of COVID-19. My breathing can be staggered at times. I haven’t exercised the same. I’m still dealing with brain fog. These are symptoms that have stuck with me long after I feel they should be gone.

The same goes for leading. There are long-term effects to leading. These can be positive or negative depending on what you’ve done with your leadership.

Lead well and you may see:

  • New leaders rise up
  • A successful organization
  • Great training programs created
  • Happy employees

Lead poorly and you may see:

  • A disorganized organization
  • Unhappy employees
  • Debt
  • Disunity

How you lead impacts the long-term effects of your leadership. Make sure you’re leading well.

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