The Five Core Practices of Trusted Leaders: Be Present

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the world of work and life. What has not changed, however, is the need for great leadership.  At GrowthPlay, we know that the most trusted leaders are focusing on these five core practices to step up, lean in, and lead well:


Be Present

In the midst of responding to COVID-19, it can feel challenging to keep client development connections warm.  In a desire to avoid burdening already stressed clients, we have heard many lawyers express a desire to pull back from reaching out, wanting to hear that their assistance is necessary or invited before making contact.  And, as event after event cancels and clients delay projects, it can seem like the possibilities to stay organically connected to most of our contacts must be put on hold until life and business as usual resumes.

However, this is exactly the time for trusted advisors to lean in, step up, and lead.  It also may be comforting to remember that in a time of crisis and great uncertainty, people are not inclined to make dramatic changes, but rather to lean more heavily on relationships that are already known, liked, and trusted.  Therefore, keep in mind that your behavior to act upon the two principles that guide business development as an act of service are critical right now:  continue to build authentic relationships, and be willing to listen for and solve another person’s most important problems, even if you can’t bill for them.

What does this mean practically?  The number one thing to do right now, particularly if your practice is slow at the moment, is to connect with your clients and contacts.  Authentic relationship building means that you are willing to demonstrate care and concern for the other person because the person is important, not just when they have business to give you.  If you haven’t asked your most important contacts how they are doing personally and professionally, now is the time to do so. Here are some examples of authentic reasons you can use to connect in the absence of a pressing need.

And here are a few other tips to help you stay connected:

  • Every time you think of pushing send on an email, consider picking up the phone and calling instead.
  • Use the time from meetings that get canceled or rescheduled as an opportunity to call one person to simply check in.
  • Come prepared with a few potential recommendations for ways you can be helpful given what you anticipate might Trends and immediate feedback from in-house counsel demonstrate that some of their top concerns and priorities at the moment include:
  • Labor & employment needs
  • Cybersecurity challenges in a work from home world
  • Managing cash flow and understanding financing, liquidity, and tax implications
  • Supply chain challenges
  • M&A contingency planning


However, the most important thing you can do is ask good questions and listen deeply.  When you discover something that is a priority or concern, recognize that you have a multitude of ways in which you can help.  Some possibilities to consider include:

  • Invitations to sit in on training, discussions, and webinars
  • Introductions to other clients, service providers, experts, and colleagues; and
  • Insights into how to manage the current circumstances, including strategy conversations, sharing of feedback or surveys, and examples of how other organizations are addressing similar challenges.