Jacqueline Cripps: Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain &…

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Jacqueline Cripps: Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain & Turbulent Times

These can be seen as the “other end of the stick” to the mistakes. Leaders should (1) Be willing to show up and lead; (2) Communicate with their people; (3) Adopt an honest and transparent approach; (4) Listen to the needs of their people; and (5) Provide support.

As part of our series about the “Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times”, we had the pleasure of interviewing Jacqueline Cripps (Jacqueline Cripps Limited).

Jacqueline is a consultant, writer, and speaker. As a ‘millennial translator’ she educates workplaces on the millennial generation. Jacqueline is the author of two non-fiction books, with a third for publication in 2023. She writes for numerous publications and has an extensive media portfolio. She is passionate about creating awareness and bringing about positive change, especially through the art of storytelling.

Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

To be honest, I’m still yet to work out if my business came to me, or if I fell into it. I think probably the latter, which also reflects my open approach to life and leading from a space of purpose and meaning. I’ve always been people orientated, with a desire to be of value and service to others. But what lead me into the pathway of my passion work — educating leaders and being an advocate for millennials — was because of a problem I’d identified many years ago. That problem being me feeling at an utter disconnect with my then workplace and manager, and the realization of the role — and impact — of generational diversity.

Fast forward to some deep insights, reflections, research and interviews and it opened a huge avenue into a relatively “niche” area, but one of huge impact and significance to both workplaces and the quality of life of employees.

The solution I found to begin was simple — and it started with creating awareness. Talking about the issues, having a conversation, and educating others. This I started doing with article writing, before moving into speaking, before moving into consulting — which has continued to expand.

It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I think for me, starting out, it was the expectation that the world would open and see the same problem I did. That, and they’d immediately invest. I did so much outreach and cold calling — which always felt strange — but was what I had been “taught” was needed to get in the door. I was (and still am) very ambitious but the approach I took back then — and my expectations — I’d have changed. I smile when I’m approached by energetic (often young) people who are reaching out trying to sell a product or service — with the best intent of course — knowing that that was once me. I’ve come to value so much more the authentic and organic nature of building relationships and trust with those who are ready and willing to move from problem to solution, and work in partnership.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’ve been fortunate to have great mentors and teachers in my life and I truly believe that we, as leaders, need good mentors or coaches that we can turn to for council or support. As a growth mindset person, I also believe that we, as leaders, need to be working as much on ourselves, as we do on our business. Who we are reflects in what we do.

I think collectively, each of the teachers I’ve had in my life have brought something different and have worked with me or supported me for different areas or needs at that time. Even today, I have a wonderful mentor who is a critical part of my life and business.

Extensive research suggests that “purpose-driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. When your organization started, what was its vision, what was its purpose?

I agree with this. Even when I work with clients, one of my starting questions is: where is your strategy and what’s your vision? Not just because it anchors a business, but from a workforce point of view, it’s necessary to get quality talent in the door. Purpose and shared vision matters.

When I started out, all I knew was that I felt passionate about creating awareness and being a voice. However, walking the talk, I refined that into a specific purpose: to inspire harmonious unity and create connection (both within, and between, other humans). I have a core set of values that I live by, that feed into this, but also determine the type of clients I work with.

I am inspired each day, by a deeper calling of purpose, passion and making a difference in the lives of others. It might sound a little cliché, or “typical millennial” but being inspired to bring about awareness, to educate others and create change for the greater good, is hugely rewarding.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion. Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?

We live in a world where the only constant is change; uncertainly exists around us all the time, so for me it’s all about mindset. We can’t control (usually) a lot of the external of what is happening, but we can control who we are: how we act or respond; how we show up; how we interact with others.

I’m a huge proponent of honesty, transparency, and communication, and I think in the workplace in particular, if/when things do become unsettling or uncertain, these things become even more critical. Teams need to know they can trust their leader during uncertain times, that they have the support, and that will be lead along the way.

Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the motivation to continue through your challenges? What sustains your drive?

The key is having purpose. When you have a purpose then there is no giving up. Obstacles and challenges will come up, but the key to managing this is to find a way around. And often I’ve found that going back to the “why you’re doing what you’re doing” automatically opens new ideas or solutions. Perseverance and persistence are important. It’s not to say there won’t be times or situations in life where you need to walk away from something, but generally, I think we’re always able to find a way around a problem.

I have over recent times, become a better proponent of doing less to achieve more. We get caught up in the busyness of life, or the constant action, but sometimes slowing down, taking the foot off the pedal, and even stopping, allows space for new creative energy that can be hugely impactful.

I’m an author and I believe that books have the power to change lives. Do you have a book in your life that impacted you and inspired you to be an effective leader? Can you share a story?

As an author also, I agree! Like the mentors and teachers in my life, I think the books I’ve read, have also added a wonderful mix of perspectives and learning. There are a plethora of books out there that offer some fantastic knowledge and insight; but I think key is finding one that fits your style. A few of my favorite authors (although not strictly leadership) are Simon Sinek, Bob Proctor, Price Pritchett, Daniel Priestley, Kate Northrup, and Napoleon Hill.

What would you say is the most critical role of a leader during challenging times?

Showing up and being willing to lead. It might sound odd, because we assume that leaders know what to do during challenging times, but the I’ve seen many a ‘leader’ in positions where they haven’t been able to do their role and lead, or support their teams as best they could or should. I’ve seen leaders in these positions struggle; adding to the uncertainty that change creates. Oftentimes it’s been because they don’t have the right skill set or attitude which has added to the complexity. The willingness however — the right attitude — can make all the difference. Rolling up the sleeves, stepping up, showing courage are all traits that leaders should be willing to demonstrate.

When the future seems so uncertain, what is the best way to boost morale? What can a leader do to inspire, motivate and engage their team?

It’s not always easy to keep teams motivated during uncertain times; however, it really comes back to the type of leader: one with the right values, style, and attitude to be able to communicate, engage and motivate teams. Listening to needs and providing support and critical to this.

What is the best way to communicate difficult news to one’s team and customers?

Being as honest as possible. I understand that sometimes, especially when dealing with customers, there might be a perception of “less is more” but I think at the end of the day we’re all human and if we’re operating on the human level, we’re more likely to retain trust and face during difficult times.

How can a leader make plans when the future is so unpredictable?

I don’t see these times being any more unpredictable than our past. No one has a crystal ball and the world is constantly adapting and evolving. Key for leaders when it comes to planning, is to make sure that there’s flexibility built into any plans. Adopting an open mind with a willingness to shift and adapt if called into action. The pandemic taught us the criticality of the need to pivot (or perish) so I think the same principles apply. Plan, with room to move.

Is there a “number one principle” that can help guide a company through the ups and downs of turbulent times?

The phrase “We’re all in this together” comes to mind, which sounds a little cheesy (or Pandemic-inspired) but the reality is, we are. This is true to life. I think when we bring it back to our purpose, what we’re trying to achieve, and recognizing that we can leverage the power of “we” in co-creating environments that are supportive, or the solutions we are searching for, then it makes it easier to move through these times.

Can you share 3 or 4 of the most common mistakes you have seen other businesses make during difficult times? What should one keep in mind to avoid that?

Forgetting that basics like support, structure and foundations are key to providing staff with stability; Cutting budget in areas that matter, like training and development; Lack of communication, or withholding details, which keeps employees in the dark; Not listening to the needs of their people or ignoring those needs.

While I think all hold equal weight, and there are some overlaps, I think the biggest one is not listening to the needs of people. We all want to feel heard, and even more so during uncertain times.

Here is the primary question of our discussion. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things a business leader should do to lead effectively during uncertain and turbulent times? Please share a story or an example for each.

These can be seen as the “other end of the stick” to the mistakes. Leaders should (1) Be willing to show up and lead; (2) Communicate with their people; (3) Adopt an honest and transparent approach; (4) Listen to the needs of their people; and (5) Provide support.

Sometimes when it comes to leadership we can over complicate it, but going back to the basics with simple actions I think is key.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“People don’t know what they don’t know”, “For things to change, you have to change”, and “What is for you will never be withheld from you.”

All of these speak to me in their own ways. A lot of the basics of what I do is creating awareness. It offers a platform to build upon, because without awareness, then whatever you’re trying to do, is limited. Add to the awareness is the change aspect. I’ve come to embrace the criticality of personal growth — which I mentioned earlier — but this also transcends into business and clients. To create lasting change, you have to be working with people who are open to change; otherwise, you can’t leave impact and it becomes a waste of time and energy for all parties. And finally, is the last quote — which leans more into the learning to let go and trusting both the universe and yourself.

How can our readers further follow your work?

I’m easily reachable. You can find me online (website) or any of the main social platforms.

Web: https://www.jacquelinecripps.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelinecripps/

Instagram: @jacquelinecripps

Facebook: @jacquelinecrippsauthor

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Jacqueline Cripps: Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Uncertain &… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.