Leading Through Anxiety

by Morra Aarons-Mele

THE CEO of a startup is sitting in the office space she recently leased for her fast-growing company. It’s rush hour, but the streets outside are quiet, and so are the 600 empty cubicles outside her office door. Just yesterday her leadership team made the tough but crucial decision to send everyone home to work for the foreseeable future. In 30 minutes she needs to lead a videoconference to reassure her employees. But she’s despondent, anxious, and just plain scared.

Versions of this scene have been playing out across the world over the past few months as Covid-19 cases rise and economies shut down. Founders, executives, managers, and employees have seen how fragile everything they’ve built has become—almost ...

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