The country is now several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has proved to be a learning experience for everyone, especially workplaces. There is stress, fear, anxiety, and fatigue all around. Situations have changed overnight. The speed with which this crisis has affected regular workplace operations has been drastic. While the pandemic is likely to create ripples which will impact us all for months and even years to come, it also provides a novel chance for leaders to assess and review how they approach this situation within their organization and come out stronger together.
The changes that are being demanded today are disruptive, challenging, and the ultimate results are unknown. But as they say, a crisis draws out the best in leaders, so in the current situation, it is important for businesses to reflect on their mission, values and beliefs and see how integrated they are with their employees.
Here are some helpful tips for business leaders, working hard, to deal with today’s uncertain times, hoping to contribute towards the company’s overall development.
- Trusting and enabling others: Studies have proven that leaders who trust and empower their workforce unleash significant potential as compared to employees at low-trust companies. Amidst current challenging situation, leaders should consider showing trust in their teams, thereby enabling them to bring out their best onto the table. A strong sense of trust between the employer and the employee not only helps increase employee’s productivity but also helps bolster their morale. Encouraging people to take up tasks and motivating them to constantly upskill themselves alongside the ongoing pandemic, will instill more confidence in them and at the same time, allow them to explore and take up new and more challenging roles.
- People first strategy: The biggest asset for any business is the workforce; hence employee wellness should be the core focus for modern business leaders to thrive and succeed in the new normal. While leaders across the world have realized that health and safety of the people in the company is of utmost priority, it is important to view the situation through the eyes of the employees and look beyond providing just IT and health support. It should include taking care of the employees beyond paychecks and focusing on softer aspects like their physical, mental and psychological wellness and needs. During a pandemic like this, a leader should consider maintaining open channels of communication to understand how employees are feeling and most importantly, listen and respond on a regular basis. A good leader might not be present everywhere, but his communication channels should penetrate all spheres of the organization with a sense of accountability and promise.
- Dividing Authority: In the current situation, dealing with multiple complexities has made leaders realize the need for employees to make proactive and individual decisions. With the difference in geographies and lack of in person contact all the time, one cannot wait for directions from the superiors all the time. Therefore, leaders should consider delegating the authority for smoother workflow. This will also help build more trust among employees, giving them the extra onus and rigor towards doing a task.
- Looking beyond the current situation: As a leader, having a foresight is not about just predicting the future, but a significant ability to oversee, saddle and adapt to the constant changing environment. It includes being able to filter through a large amount of conflicting information and take astute decisions for the long term benefit of the people and the business. Developing a prescience can help leaders envision challenges and abstain from letting circumstances fully dictate and overpower the company. Although one could falter at times, but there should always be a contingency plan in the backend, along with the ability to face challenging times and the vision to overcome them.
- Giving back to the community: We all are in this together. As a responsible leader, one should figure out how a business can positively contribute to the community in these challenging times. From hosting informative webinars to providing free tools and products/services, most businesses are already doing what they can to help those in need. Not only does this help position the company in a positive light, but can also help in strengthening customers’ trust and loyalty towards your business.
- Communication and Transparency is key: The fundamentals of addressing a crisis for a leader are being honest and transparent about the situation and also communicating the next steps with clarity, humility and kindness. As a leader one should work towards reassuring both customers and employees that not only are you aware of the problem but will also work with others to find an appropriate solution to address it.
As with any major crisis, it is hard to anticipate or know certainly when things will get resolved or how. Needless to say, these tough times will be testing the character and resolve of modern business leaders and CXOs. Those who are rising to the challenge are doing so by shouldering responsibility in a constructive way, captivating their people with vigilance, putting their kin first with their actions and being definitive. It is those robust leaders’ businesses that, when the storm has settled and the pandemic has passed, will be standing still and strong.