The Leadership Tipping Point

In this week’s podcast released Monday, I had a critical conversation with our Director of Business Development, Kelle Corvin, regarding what I was seeing as a tipping point in how leaders will need to lead going forward. Although the Coronavirus has created this tipping point, it has been coming for some time.

On Wednesday of this week, we hosted a free live webinar where I shared my thoughts on this tipping point of which I believe we are in the midst of experiencing and moderated a really awesome discussion among law enforcement leaders across the country. We will be releasing the audio of this discussion next Monday as our weekly podcast. Please subscribe on iTunes to not miss an episode of Straight Talk on Leadership with Dean Crisp. We will also release the video portion next week on our website. We will send an email notification to our subscribers when that is ready. Now back to the Tipping Point.

What is a tipping point? Well this concept was made mainstream by author Malcolm Gladwell in his book Tipping Point. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend reading it or at least reading the Blinks on Blinkist. A tipping point is that point where something catches fire. It could be a product, and idea, a word where at a certain point in time where critical mass, a threshold, or boiling point is reached. That is what has occurred in leadership with the impact of the Coronavirus on the workplace. Let me try to explain.

For more than a decade, we have had Millennials (born 1980-1996) entering the workforce and right behind them are iGens (born 1996-2010) who are both, by nature the most holistic thinking generations we’ve ever had in the workforce. This has occurred because of the advancement of technology and social media that allows all of us to “share each other’s joys and pain” instantaneously. What this has created in the workplace is a demand on leaders (most especially in law enforcement) that forces leaders to focus on the needs or concerns of each individual employee more than ever before. I won’t be able to expand on this fully in this post but will make a few points to give you a perspective of what I am seeing. I call it a transition from the BIGGER PICTURE to the BIGGEST PICTURE leadership.

BIGGER PICTURE Leadership tends to be more linear thinking in nature. You do A, then B, then C. There is more of a focus on making decisions based on what is best for the entire organization. It focuses on people as part of a resource that is used to advance the goals of the organization. With the coronavirus pandemic, we have crossed the Rubicon if you will and what I am calling a Tipping Point to a new leadership reality. Leaders will be required to use BIGGEST PICTURE leadership.

What is that?

BIGGEST PICTURE Leadership demands that leaders think more Holistically. Remember, most of our leaders today are from the Baby Boomer and GenX generations – both of which are much more linear in their approach to work and in their thinking. They are leading Millennials and iGens who are by nature just the opposite – they think holistically. What does that mean? That for the first time, each individual employee and their needs are more important than the whole organization. If you visualize a computer-generated photo like the one to the left, you will get a better idea of what I mean. Each pixel is a key component of making the entire picture. If you miss one pixel, you whole doesn’t look right. So, in this new reality, leaders will be called upon to make decisions that are best for their individual employees – such as having non-essential personnel work from home; helping parents manage children who’s schools have been closed; and employees who are caring for elderly or at-risk family members.

It’s a huge change for leaders and one that I think we are all well-served to discuss. Next week, I will discuss my thoughts on how leaders can develop the key skills to manage in this new reality. Then, I will finish up this 3-part series on tips for leading in a crisis such as we are experiencing.

As always, I encourage your thoughts and comments in our blog discussion or by emailing me directly.

Our webinar yesterday was such a hit and we will likely hold another one in a couple of weeks. Look for an announcement.

During this stressful time, please take care of yourself as a leader and be mindful and empathetic of the impact it is having on your most precious resource, the humans in your organization.

Until next week,




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