Theories in Action

Rising to the Challenge- Situational Leadership

Situational leadership was extremely relevant this summer  as the typical pathways to being an effective leader  that I had heard about the CEO of Avascent was that he focused  very sincerely on building personal relationships with all of his employees. He was known to always have  his  door open during the day  and would more than  once a day walk around the office to  catch up with employees and help  them in any way he could. However, with the transition to remote work, his approach to leading through personal relationships had to shift as popping by an office becomes very difficult when your office is Microsoft Teams. On top of that, he had to balance the different demands of the international offices as  different countries were in very different stages of the pandemic and needed different policies to reflect  what was going on domestically.

I believe Avascent’s  CEO  was able to rise  to the occasion and still tried his best to stay connected to his employees through trivia nights or random chats. What I admire most about his leadership this summer was his ability to adapt  quickly, while remaining transparent about when he didn’t have the answers. For example, he originally planned to bring people back  into  the office  (with many guidelines for social distancing and limits to the number of employees allowed inside at once), but as the summer progressed announced that there was no current plan for a return to office and he didn’t want to announce a date not knowing he could commit to  it. After this announcement he  held a company wide meeting to discuss  the rationale behind the decision making process. In that company meeting he also released a new set of commitments  for the firm as a response to the murder of  George Floyd  and subsequent protests in DC. Through  this process he recruited the entire firm to be a part of the conversation on how to be better, including interviewing the summer analysts  on their recruiting process to see how their recruiting could be more intentionally equitibile, starting with the campuses  they choose  to recruit on.

In a summer where there were hundreds of moving parts  (especially considering the aerospace industry was deeply affected by the  pandemic), Avascent’s CEO demonstrated situational leadership  in the way he was able to react quickly effectively to  the changes in the world around him.