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There is No Question About It That These Are Tough Times to Lead In

There is No Question About It That These Are Tough Times to Lead In

I’ll get right to the point: These are very tough times to lead in.

 I’m hearing from CEOs and CPOs in my network that managers and executives in their organizations are struggling. At the same time, the latter are telling me that they are looking to jump ship.

It seems so much harder to lead now than it was three years ago. If you’re feeling this way, you are not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work and how businesses operate. New challenges have been introduced into the workplace and leaders, like yourself, are finding themselves having to lead their teams through unprecedented times.  

Here are just a few of many frightening statistics that demonstrate how the old way of leading is no longer a viable strategy:

  • Gallup’s Global State of the Workforce Survey found that there are many people “stressed, sad and anxious” at work (HBR, 2022).  For instance, 44% of respondents indicated that they experienced a lot of stress the day before taking the survey
  • 57% workers feel disrespected (Pew Research Centre, 2021)
  • 60% of employees say leaders damage their self-esteem (Gottfredson, 2022)

Other concerning stats paint a picture that people no longer aspire to lead at work, and are even abdicating leadership responsibilities:

  • 66% of employees don’t want to lead  (CareerBuilder Study, HBR, 2014)
  • 70% of employees are saying ‘no’ to promotions (Ivanti Study, Inc. Magazine, 2022)
  • 70% of managers are afraid to speak with their employees (Inc. Magazine, 2018)

Furthermore, 75% of employers rate leadership programs ineffective, according to leadership expert Ryan Gottfredson. It’s no wonder that there is such low employee engagement, which according to Gallup is currently sitting at 21%. If you are thinking, “So what?,” consider that low engagement levels are costing the global economy 7.8 trillion dollars in lost productivity (Gallup, State of Global Survey 2022). Entrepreneurs are not immune and 25% have a mental health disorder (entrepreneur.com, 2022).

At the basis of all this strife is a massive leadership gap, both in self-leadership and in the leadership of others. In effect, not only is this gap costing us vast losses in productivity, incompetent managers can be linked to increased illness. For instance, reporting to incompetent managers for one year increases the chances of cardiovascular disease by 25% after 1 year, and 64% after 4 years (WOLF Study, 2014). It is estimated that 2.4 million die each year due to reasons related to workplace stress (ILO). There are 750,000 people who are dying from ischemic heart disease and stroke, due to working long hours (WHO and International Labour Organization 2021). The article goes on to quote Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, “Working 55 hours or more per week is a serious health hazard.”

On the individual level, people are not practicing the necessary self-leadership to get themselves out of potentially dangerous and toxic work situations. They’d rather sit and take it, than do the inner work necessary to get out of their comfort zone and change jobs or start their own business.

“We are ill equipped to lead during these uncertain times. It’s not easy because to be able to pull ourselves together to pull through–we need to become at once more self-aware, more compassionate, and much grittier and more perseverant.”


It’s no wonder that as a society, we are ill equipped to lead during these uncertain times. It’s not easy because to be able to pull ourselves together to pull through–we need to become at once more self-aware, more compassionate, and a lot grittier and perseverant. 

This necessitates a different type of leadership development that helps leaders to do a deep dive and go within. However, relatively speaking, we are in the early stages of linking personal development and leadership growth. According to Ryan Gottfredson Phd, author of The Elevated Leader (2022), only 1% of leadership programs include vertical development, specifically designed to shift our mindsets, open our hearts, feel safe, and tap into our inner wisdom and connect with others.

Vertical development boosts our cognitive and emotional sophistication, which is required to be able to lead much more effectively during tumultuous times–especially for formal leaders who are called to act as a Beacon for others.

“We need a serious leadership development upgrade.”

As a collective, we have plenty of room for each and every one of us to take steps to work on becoming the best version of ourselves, including, as Gottfredson suggests, widening our window of tolerance and shifting towards growth, open, promotion, and outward mindsets. This will help us to become better prepared to face and overcome the challenges that face us as we approach the dawn of the post-pandemic world.

Bottom-line: We need a massive overhaul and a serious leadership development upgrade.


There is hope. The post-pandemic workplace has presented an opportunity to work differently, to debug leadership development, and to upgrade.  The pandemic has nourished collaboration and innovation across various industries. You can continue to maneuver and thrive under these new circumstances, but to do so you must be willing to elevate and scale your leadership.

How can leaders leverage these uncertain times to find the opportunities? Begin by focusing on your own vertical development and that of the people you work with.

This new post-pandemic era we are about to enter underscores the need for us to learn to go within and to self-reflect; to be able to raise our self-awareness and lead with purpose. This is how you can connect with brilliance and harness the power you hold within your heart and mind.

Through vertical development, you can grow your leadership from the inside out, build your courage and confidence, and expand the skills and competencies you need to connect at the human level to drive results in healthy and sustainable ways. You can realize success by putting people and the planet first.

We all need to step up, upgrade, and elevate and scale our leadership. That is why we developed the SCALE approach. 


The holistic SCALE approach is designed to help leaders achieve greater overall success through raised self-awareness and connection. Leaders learn to look at their life, including their role and their career through a new lens so that they can learn to love their life as a leader. This approach consists of five foundational SCALE tenets, including 

  1. Self-awareness through profundity
  2. Connection and courage through compassion and empathy
  3. Accountability inspired by caring and appreciation
  4. Legacy and lifelong leadership learning
  5. Elevating and entrusting other leaders

Consistent with other Light Your Leadership Approaches, SCALE integrates the following principles featured in Light A Fire In Their Hearts: The Truth About Leadership. The 3 Cs of Connection: compassion, courage, and competence. As well as the 8 Ps of Ignition: profundity, passion, purpose, perseverance, professionalism, play, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Don’t allow the challenges of the post-pandemic workplace to stifle your growth as a leader. Rather, use these changes as an opportunity to self-reflect, strengthen your skills, and scale and elevate your leadership.

Now is the time to level up your mindset and leadership skills. This will help you succeed in your current and future roles, perform well as a leader, and increase your chances of landing executive roles. Raising your awareness and boosting your ability to recognize and access internal and external resources available will help you feel more empowered in your career and leadership development journey.

With these principles in mind, we’ve developed a 3-tier program for leaders who believe in lifelong learning. Implementing leading edge strategies, these courses help participants achieve new levels of success and social responsibility by putting people and planet first.


elevate and scale your leadership programs


If you are a leader and want to boost your self-awareness in just two-hours, check out the recently launched LIA WITH LISA. Add The Passion Test for crystal clarity: HERE


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