How does COVID-19 impact leadership?
One must first consider that leadership applies not only to business but to all areas of life. Let’s first start with what true leaders do. Leaders inspire, motivate, develop and help others realize their full potential. Leadership is not a position or title. The reality is we are all leaders in some capacity.
In current times, leaders face unprecedented challenges. There is no playbook on how to best respond during this current pandemic, and we all try to figure out the best approaches. There are valuable lessons to learn if we pay attention.
One such lesson is that we must adapt to survive and thrive. This learning includes how we lead. Now is the time to step up and show up, ready to serve. Here are six ways to navigate and guide through this crisis.
- Be understanding
People are scared, anxious, and uncertain about the future. Check-in with people and find out how they are doing. Be sincere, listen, and have empathy. Seek first to understand and then to be understood.
- Communicate often and with transparency
We are social beings and long for connection. Communicate often, share what is happening, and answer questions and concerns honestly and timely. In the absence of information, people tend to imagine the worst. The lack of communication can lead to confusion and frustration. Be clear, truthful, and thoughtful.
- Focus on the good
It is too easy to get caught up in negativity. Make a point to recognize and shine a light on those doing good work and set a positive example for others. Celebrate the wins.
- Ask for help
No one has all the answers. Ask for help when needed, and listen with an open mind. Vulnerability is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness. The moment leaders think they have all the answers, they close themselves off to learning and growing. In the words of John F. Kennedy, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
- Be flexible
We can have well-thought-out plans in place, but we must remain flexible when things do not go as we hoped. Expect the unexpected. Have contingency plans and focus on solutions and not problems. Be open to alternative ideas and out-of-box thinking.
- Take action and do the work
Continue to make forward progress. Develop clear short-term and long-term goals that are measurable and have specific timelines with accountability built-in. Momentum is key.
It takes work, focus, and dedication to navigate challenging times. A time of crisis is an opportunity to elevate your leadership game, build trust, be other-focused, create more meaningful relationships, drive to better results, and positively impact lives.