Dean Crisp, Author of Leadership Lessons From The Thin Blue Line

Growing Leaders During Uncertain Times

Leadership Development During Times of Crisis

So, we are starting our 8th week of shutdown and for those of us that are full-time leadership development trainers, it means no live classes. Many cities, counties and states are prohibiting out of state travel or forcing citizens who do so to observe a 14-day self-quarantine before re-entering society. While all of these circumstances have prohibited or severely-restricted in-person leadership development activities for the foreseeable future, I am writing this blog to you as a leader of both yourself and others to look at alternative ways to grow your leadership in this uncertain time. I have always said that my biggest leaps in growth as a leader were when I fully committed to growing myself. I encourage you to use this time to do the same and to encourage your team to do the same. So what are some tips for growing when you can’t go to live training.

First, remember Leaders are Readers. I tell every student I teach, and talk about the important role reading has played in my own personal growth and development. It is the single best way that you can control your mindset by controlling what messages you are inviting into your thought process. We have a list of suggested reading on our LHLN section of the website You can access that for free by signing up for free there. If sitting and reading isn’t your thing, you can still benefit by subscribing to Audible or Blinkest where you can get the main points of the book without sitting and reading for long periods of time Or by listening to the book while you perform daily activities. Reading is key to long-term personal growth and leadership development. Set up a department or division “book club” for those that do enjoy reading and want to discuss what they’ve read.

Second, as a leader of your people during this time, encourage conversation about topics of interest. As I mentioned above, consider hosting a weekly discussion group on a book, or pick a discussion topic, or watch a webinar together (while practicing social distancing of course). I’ve been hosting a free webinar on a different leadership topic each month since the quarantine started. Many departments are setting up the link so that many team members can watch at the same time from the same link. Keep an eye out for our May webinar in a couple of weeks. Having such monthly or weekly meetings with your group keeps you connected to your community AND grows you and your people as leaders.

Thirdly, look for opportunities for specialists within your departments to share their knowledge within your department. It will help them become better at presenting to groups and will share information that could be important to them at a later date. One thing that I find can really be beneficial to helping all of your people be better speakers/presenters is to do a 1-minute group. We’ve been hosting one at LHLN and it’s been very helpful. Once a month, whomever is available from the free, signed-up group, joins on a Zoom call and each person gets one word that they have to talk about by telling a teachable story – no  prep time and goal is to get as close to 1 minute as possible with a message that will teach your listeners. It sounds difficult at first, but with practice, it’s actually fun and encouraging to watch each person grow in their comfort and ability.


Fourthly, look for online learning opportunities that meet your leadership development needs. When evaluating a course, look at what each person needs and what the course offers. Does the course have an engaging, dynamic instructor? Is it someone who is credible with your students? Do you have the ‘infrastructure’ to provide your students a successful class experience? Do you have a dedicated location in your department free of distractions? What are the personal learning styles of each of your people? Some adapt to a self-paced, online learning experience better than others. It’s not for everyone, but can offer quality training; provide the POST credit needed; or serve targeted training for specific milestones that leaders reach in their career.


All of these are key to the continued growth of yourself and your people while live training remains unavailable or restricted. Perhaps the main message whether during quarantine or NOT, is to develop a plan that grows you and grows your people. Ask them to do the same. Engage them in small groups or voluntary groups. Suggest books to read. All will help to reinforce the importance of self-growth and development and will grow them as leaders.


I want to hear your ideas. What are you doing to continue the growth during the shutdown? Email me at or sign in and participate in the discussion!


Until next week,



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