Crisis Reshapes Leadership Styles, Creates New Leaders

by Lynn Parsons, Executive Director, Coolidge Chamber of Commerce

As the director of the Coolidge Chamber of Commerce, I have spoken about leadership in the past, but 2020 has changed how we all lead. I have seen so many changes of leadership style and new leaders emerging over the last six months that it amazes me. Our business leaders, City officials, board of directors and our Chamber team have stepped up and changed the leadership game.

Crisis has a way of redefining what leadership means.

It is not always the “official leaders” who have the most impact. Leadership requires adaptability. We must now shift from leading by old standards to leading with personalization. Today, leadership must allow others to influence in their own way, to empower others with the freedom to create previously unseen opportunities for themselves and the organization.

We can only lead if we are willing to understand that we can be much more successful not acting individually but as a team. We are a community that is dedicated to keeping our businesses running and our economy moving in the right direction. No one person can do this alone.

My position provides me with the unique opportunity to see how our business leaders are evolving, and that gives me inspiration. As a leader, I know that I am one person and would not be able to do the work I do if I did not have the team that I have. My board of directors is focused on building an environment that allows our business to prosper and grow. They provide me with the tools and the backing to do my job and to do it well. My team never says, “It can’t be done.” They say, “How can we do that or how can we do that better?”

Our City leaders are motivators for positive growth and are proactive to make that happen. We work together to make Coolidge the place to be.

I have tried to foster a creative mindset in our office so when we are approached by a member with an issue, we can think outside the box to help them. Yes, I am the director and I lead my team, but as John F. Kennedy once said: “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

I am the leader that I am because I know I cannot do this alone, and I must continue to grow and learn as a person and allow my team to do the same. I try to learn something new each day. It can be the smallest detail of something I already know or something completely new, but I strive to be better than the day before.