Small business leadership during Covid-19

Run Like Lyla

The day before lockdown in South Africa, we took the dogs for a run. Well… Garon took the dogs for a run, while I tried to keep up. Watching them from behind, I saw both our little sausages run their hearts out – with equal gusto.

What made this interesting for me, is that our one doggy, Lyla, is completely deaf and blind.

On our property she walks slowly and carefully to avoid bumping into things too hard. We need to be mindful to keep things in the same place and not leave anything lying around, else Lyla’s bound to trip over something.

Out on the road, however, this same cautious little doggy is bold and brave and runs her heart out! WHY!? Because she is being guided from behind on leash by someone she trusts.

This really got me thinking. On our property, she is safe and knows her surroundings. Out of the street it’s all new, unchartered territory; yet that simple leash gives her the reassurance that she’s going in the right direction and will be able to dodge any obstacle in her path.

Business is no different.

As a small business owner (with the greater part of our income dependent on the restaurant, events and tourism industries) I’ve found myself in the overwhelming position that most SME heads have during this pandemic. Having to plan for an uncertain future, while being responsible for livelihoods beyond your own – the fear is almost crippling.

What I realized, though, is that while the fears and concerns are valid and real, the need for decisive action is greater. If your employees can trust 100% that you are steering them to safety as best you can, they will trust and they will run!

It’s scary not being able to see what’s ahead. Leaving your employees to venture alone each day will have them walking slowly and wearily, afraid of what’s ahead. If they know that you are alongside them every step of the way, with the same energy (or fatigue) as them… they will run! If they can feel you tug them if they’re wobbling or to change direction, they will adjust their stride and run!

It’s okay to be fearful (after all, it’s your responsibility to look ahead and plan a path). But… be decisive and honest in your actions, and those you lead will run like Lyla!

Thank you to my amazing team who continue to run with me!

JAW Design Team

  • Anne Cook
    Posted at 16:03h, 26 April Reply

    Such amazing insight. And yes being lead by someone you trust does make one feel empowered. Run Lyla, run!

  • Cheryl walker
    Posted at 20:59h, 03 May Reply

    Absolutely on point decisive and honestly
    Loved the way you explained i can relate
    Looking forward to your next input..

  • Margarithe Mayes
    Posted at 09:54h, 04 May Reply

    Excellent piece! Your heart has always been for others and this comes through here.

    • Jeni-Anne Campbell
      Posted at 10:43h, 04 May Reply

      aaaah thank you! P.s your high school English teacher reading your blog….#Pressure

  • GerhardtWeitz
    Posted at 12:46h, 08 May Reply

    Absolutely brilliant.This is not only applicable to businesses but also the economical future of South Africa.The leader is the pinnacle point.Well done Jenkins.I am so proud to follow you.

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