Disruption happens in the workplace. Sometimes it’s a disruption that is caused by our own doing, but other times, disruption just lands upon you. Many workplaces are seeing this unintentional disruption currently with the Covid-19 outbreak and the international pandemonium that has followed. This kind of disruption can be toxic to an organization unless they have leaders that are prepared to leverage that disruption into strength.
One of the most important things that a leader can do is to think from a well-rounded perspective, and analyze what the situation will be like a week from now, a month from now, six months from now, and so forth. Many leaders get stuck when disruption hits, and their automatic response is to freeze or try to focus on the short term. A good leadership technique is to think into the future while handling things in the present so that you can continue to stay in business throughout the disruption, but also plan for how to take advantage of the disruption further down the timeline. This means being aware of new opportunities that present themselves and creating new opportunities from what is at your disposal, even if things are stressful and chaotic like they are currently.
Investments Despite Disruption
Another thing that leaders should be thinking about is how they are going to invest their resources, be it time, money, or other essentials. You might have to make investments that are different than what you were planning in order to ride with the disruption. For example, many offices have now gone completely remote, with the majority of white-collar workers telecommuting into meetings and other work responsibilities. This requires an investment in technology, be it computers for employees to take home, or the software required to video conference. This is a vital investment because it will keep employees working. Even if it may not be essential to what you had planned six months down the line, but it’s important to make that investment so that things can continue to be operational. This investment can be leveraged into something positive if changes to the long term plan are made. For example, perhaps the investment in technology will allow for more work from home opportunities for employees, which would allow you to hire a variety of new people, or perhaps pay less for an office space. This is one example of how your investments can be leveraged, despite workplace disruption.