Leadership During COVID-19

Leaders around the world have come under heavy fire for not doing enough to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis which emerged as early as in mid November 2019. Lack of decisiveness, resilience, agility and accountability on the part of leaders to act upon on evaluating the depth and dangers the crisis posed were seen as some of the huge setbacks when the pandemic struck an unimaginable blow to the economies and their people.

At CLACOACHING our team was closely observing the developments and leadership behaviors during this period and have taken some key learnings on how the leadership moves and actions impacted the outcomes of the unprecedented situation.

People look up to leaders for guidance, direction, quick decision making and most importantly protection and trustworthy advisory during times of uncertainty and ambiguity. Therefore those who are charged with leadership roles should be mindful of the mammoth tasks they are empowered with. Here are several ways managers, leaders and even parents can develop trust during times of uncertainty and calamity in order to emerge stronger during and after the crisis.

Demonstrate Trustworthiness

Leaders must be mindful that their domains of capability and integrity come under the spot light during times of crisis and must garner the support of other experts around them to collaborate and execute effective mechanisms to develop and enhance the levels of trust so that they could engage all stakeholders towards the most important next steps of actions.

Leaders must maintain a holistic approach beyond business outcomes at this crucial time and provide emotional strength to people around them with humble inclusive attitudes towards all the stakeholders.

Demonstrate Courageous Authenticity

A courageous and authentic demonstration of leadership by the prime minister of Singapore as early as in February 12, 2020 on the COVID-19 crisis provides the model of being transparent and providing greater clarity on the situation confronted helping to achieve psychological resilience where people emerge emotionally stronger to cope with situations faced.https://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=7371689859133347435

Consistency of Communication

Leaders must also maintain authentic communications during times of uncertainty which eventually leads to build credibility on communiques released. There is also a strong correlation to effective leadership and open honest expression of feelings. Maintaining periodic release of such messages to all stakeholders help increase engagement and direct all efforts towards the desired outcomes averting further damage during crisis.

Effective communications lead to build greater bonds with internal and external stakeholders and leaders must ensure that nobody is kept in the dark and isolated with lack of reach due to poor communications cascading to the lower ends of the organization.

Resilient Leadership

People feel better equipped and hopeful on the aftermath of crisis when the leadership is able to inspire resilience during adversity in order to instill the mindset to bounce back with renewed potential to meet newer challenges.

Resilient leadership also provides stronger inspiration and a higher capacity to create bonds with people helping them to navigate the minefields of confusion and chaos faced during times of adversity.

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Decisiveness in Leadership

Effective and timely decisions during times of ambiguity and uncertainty helps to prevent substantial damage to businesses and economies.

Spell out a short term vision during the crisis and create strong awareness among 2nd and 3rd tier leaders to navigate the crisis period. Leaders must move with greater speed to execute revised arrangements to prevent economic, business disruption and potentially business failure.

The Story of the Sri Lankan Government’s initiative permitting Sri Lankan airlines to bring back the 33 students from Wuhan during the COVID-19 lockdown situation provides us great insights to a remarkable DECISION MAKING by the government of Sri Lanka that was considered so courageous and timely during an unprecedented time of calamity.https://www.linkedin.com/embeds/publishingEmbed.html?articleId=8331357932006795990

Increase empowerment and authority to regional managers to implement the tasks through remote operations or work from home models in order to respond to organization’s customer promises. Consistent follow up, communications and vigilance to be maintained to ensure that everyone is on course as per the agreed guidelines.

Be crystal clear, simple and keep stronger conversations among peers and subordinates so that confusions don’t creep in between to derail the action steps already agreed.

Review and update your crisis management plans in the light of the new challenges faced regularly in consultation with your key team members.

Demonstrate Employee Care

Though it is hard for businesses to continue their routine operations nothing could prevent leaders from showing EXTRA CARE to employees and their family members staying healthy during COVID-19

The COVID-19 Future Outlook

Surely we are all going to pass this unforeseen COVID-19 crisis and must prepare to build up the strength to bounce back when normalcy prevails. The market dynamics, business models and corporate structures are not going to be the same post COVID-19.

Leaders must inspire and enable simulations based on data in hand and with global predictions to articulate the new phase of business navigation post COVID-19 and we are all certain that the new model would be more people centric than never before and leaders who are now preparing would stand a better chance to lead the growth initiatives stronger than others.

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