Like many mothers at the start of the school year, I asked myself: How am I going to do this? 

With three young kids doing remote learning and both my husband and I working, it has been hard to balance their needs and those of my job (which I love).

Fortunately, I work for an organization that has always given me the space and flexibility I need. But some days I feel overwhelmed and look for some inspiration to carry on.

And one source of inspiration that has given me guidance and comfort are three amazing women leaders.

Here are the leadership attributes these women possess that anyone can embrace—and are particularly relevant if you’re struggling to lead a team during these difficult times.

1. Authenticity
People sometimes feel that leaders aren’t relatable or approachable. But during this pandemic, leaders started to share their personal struggles and build connections with their employees.

For example, New Zealand Prime Minister (PM) Jacinda Ardern started Facebook Live videos from her couch called “Conversations through COVID-19.” And Denmark PM Mette Frederiksen shared a video of herself in the kitchen singing along with the 1980s Danish popsters on a weekly TV show.

2. Credibility
To build trust, leaders need to back up their words with real evidence and experiences.

Not many people knew German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a physicist. But when she revealed her scientific background during the pandemic, she won people’s trust and created a successful plan to tackle COVID-19.

When it comes to being a good leader, people are inspired by action—not just words.

When 17-year old climate change activist Greta Thunberg was invited to speak at the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit, she demonstrated her commitment by traveling from Sweden to NYC on a zero-emission yacht. Her actions spoke just as loud as her words.

We can learn a lot from these leaders and use their examples to help us communicate effectively with employees during these difficult times. When employees know that leaders care and are committed to their cause, employees will be engaged and ready to face the challenges ahead.

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