A CEO Answers the Question: How Do You Build Staff Resilience?

Feb 28, 2021 | Hot Mess Hotline Podcast

In this episode of the Hot Mess Hotline, Angela White tells us the story of how she led herself and her team through navigating work after the sudden death of a key team member on her team. At that moment, Angela had lost her friend and coworker, Kris Kindelsperger, and was faced with a sudden change in her business. 

Angela didn’t have time to create a plan but was required to lead in the immediate moment which required her to pull her team together in a crisis. She realized that, as a human, she needed to pay attention to both the human and the business sides of the situation. 

Angela was called to lead even though she was shocked and sad. She wondered…What do you do when you are devastated by something unexpected that has happened but you realize that you still need to be a leader in the moment as well as for the long-term success of your business? Sometimes the right thing to do is let things be a mess while allowing for the range of emotion that happens after a crisis…after all, we are human! 

We need to sit in the mess… but we can’t let it paralyze us. For Angela, at some point, they needed to move forward and go back out and do their work. As Kris would have said, “Things need to move “Onward!” 

Here are 3 ways to take care of yourself as a leader while leading your team through a Hot Mess:

  1. Spend time in silence
  2. Balance stamina and self-care
  3. Find ways to let out your emotions…even if it means you cry.

Realize that everyone responds to a crisis differently. You can’t get through the short term and think everything is normal. Give people the time they need to move through the cycles of grief. 

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You need to know what's creating chaos and complexity in your team. Take the Hot Mess Quiz. 

As a leader, you've felt paralyzed by where to start first with your team's and organization's problems. Do you need team building or a frank conversation? Like a Rubik's cube, one shift changes everything else, but may create more problems than it solves. Take this 3-minute quiz to find your next best step.

About Angela E. White

Angela E. White, CFRE, has been instrumental in JGA’s success since 1996, when she joined the JGA team. In 2011, she became CEO of JGA, responsible for providing day-to-day leadership to the firm and guiding the JGA staff, while continuing to provide tailored consulting services directly to our clients. Angela has a high level of expertise in philanthropic consulting in healthcare, education, social services, arts, and faith-based organizations. She also has considerable depth in strategic planning and data analysis.

Among Angela’s passions are women’s issues and women-serving organizations. Angela is a member of the faculty at The Fundraising School at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and often presents on behalf of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.
Before joining JGA, Angela was the Executive Director for Institutional Advancement at the University of Indianapolis. There, she managed the functions of development, alumni relations, marketing and media relations, publications, and prospect research. She began her career in development at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, where she served as Vice President of Institutional Advancement.

She currently serves on the Committee on Directorship for CFRE International. She has served as the Conference Co-Chair for CASE District 5, the Vice President for Membership for the Indiana Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and as the Chair of the Indiana Achievement Awards. In 2012, Angela was recognized as a Women of Influence honoree by the Indianapolis Business Journal for her extensive work with Indianapolis-area nonprofits and her efforts to advance the understanding of women’s philanthropy. Angela is a CFRE, graduate of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana, and obtained her Master’s degree in business from Purdue University.

Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates (JGA) Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates takes an authentic approach to providing strategic and philanthropic consulting services to nonprofit organizations and foundations. JGA’s team of experienced senior consultants offer client-focused, highly customized solutions to private colleges and universities, independent schools, hospitals, foundations, social service agencies, and community, cultural, and faith-based organizations. Our full-service firm assists with strategic planning, capital campaigns, development audits, feasibility studies, and general fundraising counsel. Whatever scenario you’re facing, its likely we’ve faced it too. Discover for yourself and let our learnings become your strengths. For more information, visit www.jgacounsel.com.

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