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.