Leadership Through the Valleys

Chris Yates

Published On: April 22, 2020

Categories: SentryOne Ambassadors 2

Leadership has many twists and turns on a good day. Couple that with our current pandemic and you have a recipe for many challenges for companies.

Whether teams are working remotely or in physical locations, these three aspects of leadership should remain a priority for today's leaders:

  1. Communication
  2. Vision/culture
  3. Periodic check-ins

1. Communication

At the heart of every successful team, you will find effective communication. Good or bad communication from the top-down and bottom-up plays an integral role in just how well your team(s) will perform. Have you ever noticed when communication is lacking? Negativity usually sets in at some point when there is a communication gap, so it is good to keep the lines of communication open.

In addition, a key component of great communication is active listening. Perfecting the art of listening is a goal leaders should work toward each day.

Having strong communication skills takes practice for any leader, but when done correctly and frequently can pay huge dividends for all team members.

2. Vision/Culture

Leaders have an opportunity to have a huge impact on their team(s) by setting a clear vision and tone. The vision/culture should be clear to all team members and provide a North Star for your team to follow. Your team will encounter adversity and obstacles at the most inopportune times; having a clear vision/culture in place will help keep your team moving forward.

When it comes to culture, the behavior exhibited by leaders is contagious. Think about that for a minute. The mood that you are in, the encouraging note you send out, the good or bad attitude you have—all of that rubs off on your team members.

A past lesson learned is if you constantly focus on results but lose focus on the heart (your team), success will be difficult to achieve. So, I ask—What type of culture are you building?

3. Periodic Check-Ins

Periodic check-ins are two-fold. Internally, we should be reviewing how we are gauging our personal performance as leaders. Reflecting on how we handle situations should be a daily occurrence.

  • What lessons have we learned?
  • Did we handle the situation appropriately?
  • Were communications appropriate?
  • Is the vision clear?
  • Is the team properly aligned with goals?

These are just some of the questions we should be asking ourselves as leaders.

We should also be checking on our team members frequently. Investing time in others is an essential aspect of any team's growth. Without it, complacency can set in and teams become stagnant. The words we speak to one another are powerful; they can:

  • Build up.
  • Tear down.
  • Coach.
  • Inspire.
  • Encourage.

Teams have risen to great heights by having a successful check-in routine, and the same teams have fallen apart when regular check-ins don't happen.

Tying It Together

Leaders face daily adversity. We shouldn't limit our focus to just these three aspects of leadership. They are, however, a reminder of how even the obvious sometimes gets taken for granted. You don't have to be an executive, vice president, director, or manager to be a leader—you can be a leader wherever you are.

My challenge to you today is simple. In times of trials and obstacles, and now more than ever, we need strong leaders and effective leadership. Are we tearing each other down or building each other up? Being a positive leader doesn't mean skipping through life; it means being a constant strength for those around us who need it. Put "we" before "me".

Chris Yates has dedicated himself for the last 20 years to IT and currently works for a financial institution in the state of Kentucky. He has been a highly passionate and engaged PASS member since the year 2011 in which he attended his first PASS Summit. Today, you will find Chris mentoring local user group leaders, along with co-organizing the Louisville SQL Saturday event. Having attended multiple PASS Summits, he realizes the importance of leadership within the community and is extremely passionate about helping others succeed. He is also a past PASS blogger, author, speaker, personal blogger, Microsoft Data Platform MVP, and mentor. You can find Chris’s blog or follow him on Twitter at @YatesSQL.


Fighting Downtime and Slowdowns