Hierarchal structures traditionally look to the top for leadership.

For example, in a non-profit organization we look to the Executive Director; in a for-profit company we look to the CEO; in our nation, we ultimately look to the president.

But what happens when there is an absence of leadership from those expected to provide it?

That’s when true leaders rise up.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, the foundation for leadership is integrity, responsibility, and humility. While always important, these qualities are even more essential in times of crisis, like during the pandemic we’re currently experiencing.

Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle are two examples of government officials who took it upon themselves to fill the void in leadership and rise up to meet this challenge.

Businesses small and large can likewise make a real impact, for good, during this time. People are longing for real, accurate answers, even if that means hearing “we don’t yet know.” They desire a trusted voice to help calm them. And they want assistance from someone with integrity to help them sort through the overwhelming amount of information, in order to find what matters most to them and to their circumstances.

One such business leader is Rich Vaughn. Rich is the Founding Partner of the International Fertility Law Group, a law firm exclusively dedicated to legal support for assisted reproduction, family formation, and adoption.

Last week, Rich’s firm was experiencing an increasing number of calls and emails from clients concerned about the Coronavirus and the impact it could have on them. In addition to all of the questions one might normally expect, e.g. the impact of COVID-19 on reproduction and pregnancy, there were questions about travel restrictions, particularly important because Rich’s firm has clients worldwide.

Seeing a need, Rich and his partner Molly O’Brien spent a day with his team researching the best data available, and created a guide for intended parents, surrogates, donors, and agencies. He published it on his site and sent it to listservs of legal organizations. It demonstrates the best of leadership in a time of crisis: facts, not fear.

What could you do specific to your industry? It doesn’t have to be earth-shaking. Something to communication facts, not fear, to your customers, staff, and vendors. There is a hunger for leadership, now more than ever. Look for ways to lead with integrity, responsibility, and humility. It’s not coming from the top.

Now is the time for all of us to rise up.