We are in the midst of a crisis. COVID-19 has significantly altered the way that things are done, on many different levels. One of the things that are a challenge to people now, and will continue to be challenging in the future, is how to effectively lead an organization, and yourself, out of this crisis and into a new reality.
Changing with change
One of the most important things to acknowledge about the current situation is that what leaders were doing two months ago isn’t likely going to transfer to what is applicable or needed for today. Even looking at the metrics of what you were tracking as a measure of success isn’t necessarily going to be a relevant indicator of what success is in a world with COVID. One of the most important things leaders can do to help guide their team through this pandemic is to understand that things are going to be different, and that change is going to be a necessity. The necessity of this shift is something that is so important to accept. If you cannot change with the change, and lead your team through the changes, you will sink. The sooner we can accept that this is a transformational experience, the sooner we’ll be able to think ahead to what leadership looks like for the future.
Understanding your leadership brand is very important. Leadership style is important, not just during this crisis, but also for the future. If you don’t have a well-developed leadership style, now is the time to make sure that you create a brand that is well articulated that you can stick to. This pandemic requires leaders to have a level of presence that is so much greater than it ever has been, and you want your presence to be well-defined and consistent. Having a leadership style includes many different things, including how you engage with your team, how you communicate with them, and how you motivate them. In this pandemic, it’s important to be even more engaging and engage more often. It’s also important to communicate in a way that is crisp, clear, and unwavering. Learn how to comfort your team while also pushing them and motivating them to get to their end goals. Leadership style is more important now than ever.
One positive change that will hopefully come from this pandemic is a more compassionate workplace. For many leaders, it’s a very possible reality that the team members who are now working from home are not the same team members that you knew and interacted with every day at the office. As leaders, it’s important to consider that the people around you have evolved and changed as they’ve tackled the personal changes that have come about from COVID-19. We’re all experiencing something that no one could have ever imagined, and everyone’s life looks very different than it did a few months ago. There has been a lot of time for reflection and deciding who we want to be as humans, and as employees. As leaders, we should be thinking about how we want to engage with our employees, both as individuals and within the bigger, broader community. One of the biggest skill sets that need to be different is compassion. Leadership should include compassion for one another. Compassion, however, does not mean indulgence. If you are compassionate, it doesn’t mean that you indulge their behavior and let them do anything, but it’s more about using compassion to get the best out of people, and helping them to be that best version of themselves.