How important is the leader of your business right now?
Lucky for us, we have a leader with great adaptation skills who is leading our team through this unprecedented time for our practice.
Her name is Brooke Hawley.
On March 17th, before the situation was clear to much of the public, what Brooke did in taking the lead to immediately close our practice reveals a great deal about what good leadership looks like during this pandemic. Understanding what’s required of leaders in this moment starts with appreciation for the type of problem this pandemic presented in its initial phases. When warning signs are fuzzy and potential harm could be large, leaders confront what management scholars call an ambiguous threat. It takes a unique kind of leadership to push against the natural human tendency to downplay and delay. Brooke acted with urgency and communicated with transparency: communicating the fact that we were closing our practice; communicating bad news is a thankless task. As the leader, Brooke had to jump into the fray without all the information that she would have liked by providing honest and accurate descriptions of reality — being as clear as humanly possible about what she knew, what she anticipated, and what it meant for our beloved work family.
Brooke is honest and straightforward and not afraid to stand up for what’s right, even if it means harsh criticism. She has the passion for eye care and is an accomplished leader. She is brutally honest with herself and with others. She learns from her team and does her best to get barriers out of the way so that they can do their jobs, especially now with the responsibility of developing a plan to keep our team and our patients safe in our practice, while serving our community.
Brooke prioritizes and asks advice from her team and is humble enough to accept it. She believes that success is crucial to learning from her team who are closest to working with our patients, so she collaborates daily and communicates often. Especially now, these traits are very important. She understands that fear in this time of COVID-19 can motivate people in different ways. She is open with her team to understand what worries that they may have about working right now. She is compassionate and also not afraid to reveal that she also experiences the same fears.
Brooke is a leader who has stepped up to take responsibility in our practice, and with others in the business of eye care. She has shared new protocols and best practices that she has developed with other eye care practices and is keenly aware that we must serve our community and patients in the best way possible right now. She has responded to missteps productively by staying focused on the goal and looking ahead to continue solving the next and most pressing problems.
Even though we’re all in this together, it can be lonely and difficult to lead in a time of fear, in a time of isolation, and in this time that is devastating to thousands of small businesses in Minnesota.
Our practice probably will never be the same but we do have a spark of hope that she may be part of a newer, greater generation that is being born out of these hard times. With her leadership, we are confident that our practice will survive and that it will eventually grow again, because we know that Brooke has a plan for that.
Kudos to leaders! We really cannot imagine being without ours right now.