Leadership Greater Hartford Goes Virtual

As a community leadership organization, gathering together is at the heart of who we are and what we do. Over the past two months, LGH transformed our program delivery to ensure that our community could continue to gather and connect virtually in the current era of social distancing.

Lessons in Leadership is a program for LGH members, guests, and alumni to gather together at stand-alone leadership sessions. The standard Lessons format includes: gathering a diverse group of regional leaders, a guided presentation by a skilled presenter, and vibrant table discussions. Each year, a timely and relevant leadership book, voted on by LGH members, guides the “lessons” of the program. This year, we selected The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle.

Now in its tenth year, Lessons in Leadership’s typical format has necessarily evolved from in-person gatherings over breakfast scones -to live webinar presentations. The table discussions are now virtual breakout room discussions facilitated by LGH alumni and staff. During our second session, our guest presenter, Kristen Devino of COCC, asked participants to share ways their organizations are boosting morale, connecting people to each other and managing teams during this unprecedented remote environment. Some ideas that came out of the session include:


Build safety and reinforce belonging cues: Model trust and vulnerability for your team.  Embrace the mindset that that your team and colleagues are not working remotely but living remotely -through a pandemic- and trying to fit in work. Reinforce the standards of new flexibility, safety, and the belonging cues for others on your team. Ensure that you over communicate with your colleagues, find multiple opportunities to check in, and express gratitude.


Get out of task mode:  Listen and listen thoughtfully. Promote “bottom up” shares during group meetings to ensure you hear all voices/viewpoints and not just those positioned at the top of the work hierarchy.  Sit with new information before reacting or implementing. Now is an opportunity to invest in longer-term client cultivation, stewardship work, and deeper connections during one-on-one conversations. Shift group priority focus from “What” and “When” to “How.”


Find joy and be clued in to the mental well-being of your team: When and where you can, find joy and create moments to celebrate daily as team. Whether a virtual coffee break, an online chat board to share wins or compliments, or a “fun hats day” on Zoom day, look for opportunities to creatively have fun while working remotely. Be mindful of those who are not reaching out and find ways to connect. Cultivate self-care exercises and share these practices with your team to model the way that prioritizing mental well-being is an organizational standard.


If you need support or strategies on how to better cultivate these practices within your organizational culture, please contact LGH’s Director of Consulting and Training, Karen Senteio.


Blog piece by Kara Fenn, LGH Vice President for Marketing and Development


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