The 5 Es of leading in times of crisis
The concept of leadership has always been the talk of the town. Be it a nation, a company, or even a small group of people willing to make a change, leadership is one of the most critical elements. Over many years, people across nations have deliberated and debated on what makes an effective leader. And the current global health crisis has further shifted the focus on the conversation around leadership.
Leaders across sectors and countries are working towards managing extraordinary demands and their leadership skills are being tested like never before. As leaders look for inspiration to transform and evolve as more effective leaders, Paul Dupuis, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Randstad India launched his first book to help them with thought-provoking and practical ideas to lead the change.
In his book, he writes about the five Es: Envision; Express; Excite; Enable; Execute. Dupuis believes that these five pillars present a unique leadership model; a call to action for all leaders, globally, to inspire and lead for a change. These five rules of game-changing leadership will revolutionize the way leaders approach each new challenge.
Let's take a look at these fives Es:
Simply put, as Paul Dupuis says, this is where it begins. The first step to becoming a game-changing leader is to realize the greater purpose. Leaders often spend time finding the answer to the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of doing business, but what's more critical is to be aware of the ‘why’. It is important to have a compelling vision that touches the heart and the mind.
"The greater purpose is more powerful than any crisis," said Dupuis.
A crisis is a testing time that reveals what leaders are truly made of. In a crisis, leaders who stand firm with a conviction are leaders who have focused on the ‘why’. They know they are here for a higher purpose and are following a vision that can be executed in many different ways. They don't focus on incremental or short-term growth but rather focus on innovating & leapfrogging to the next level.
The vision is lost if not communicated in the right way to the people who shall bring it to life. Game-changing leaders can translate, articulate, and communicate their purpose and vision to their people so that together they can stitch the path towards fulfilling that purpose. And this expression or communication has to be honest, transparent, and done with absolute compassion. Especially in times of crisis, leaders have to not pretend to know all the answers and be true to their people; they should make them aware of the bigger picture, the purpose and inspire them to find solutions to the challenges together.
Once everyone is aligned with the purpose, the next step for the leaders is to enable their people with the right tools and resources. The leader's role doesn't end at just envisioning and sharing the purpose. They have to constantly support people and work along with them towards fulfilling the goals.
As Roopen Roy, Founder and CEO at Sumantrana said at the virtual book launch, "A leader is not only leading from the front but also serving the team."
The game-changing leaders communicate with their people regularly to understand their needs for achieving the goals. They create an environment full of opportunities for people to excel and thrive in whatever they do. In times of crisis, the need to regularly check-in becomes more important as the challenges keep on changing rapidly. Leaders with agility, calm, and compassion have to stand shoulder to shoulder with their employees and sail together through the choppy waters.
Dupuis says this is where the breakthrough happens and the momentum is built. Effective leaders fuel their people with positive energy and empower them to lead and work for maximum growth for their own self and the business. The constant push and pull are critical to keep the people motivated to work towards a higher purpose. Not only that, it is also important for their personal development and mental health.
As Raghunath S, Chairperson Centre For Corporate Governance and Citizenship, IIM-B said at the virtual launch, "A great leader has a high conviction but he/she also needs high connection."
In times of crisis, creating these push and pull factors becomes all the more necessary as people deal with anxiety and stress. In these trying times, effective leaders are the ones, who with compassion and empathy, can keep the spirits of their team, high.
For what has been envisioned, has to be turned into reality.
The final stage is putting all the work into action. With a clear vision, the relevant resources, and the motivation, the execution becomes easier. But this stage is also extremely critical as leaders often have a lot of lessons to take here. Once the plan is put into action, leaders have to carefully learn from their mistakes and identify and build on the strengths.
"The core message is that everyone has the ability to become a game-changing leader. E5 is a formula to help someone make that move towards becoming a great leader," said Dupuis.
Crisis or not, effective and inspiring leadership is timeless and borderless. It will always be relevant. So, take the E5 formula and start your journey towards becoming a game-changing leader.
(The blog is based on the virtual session "LAUNCHING THE E5 MOVEMENT: Leadership Through The Rule of Five #TheE5Movement" hosted by Businessworld.)