Leading Through Crisis: A Framework for COVID-19 and Future Challenges (The New Normal)
COVID-19 is here and when it’s gone it will have changed the world as we know it. The change is everlasting and will transform the way we do business. Every sector of our society including governments, businesses, hospitals and school systems have revolutionized how they work overnight. Employees now work from home, collaboration technologies have replaced meeting rooms, the cloud is the new premise, and in many cases, students are being educated virtually at home.
As a leader, have you stepped back to ensure that:
- You are prepared for the continuation of a virtual workplace culture?
- You and your staff are equipped with the mindset and resilience to handle the change permanently?
- Are you ready and conducting coaching, feedback and performance management remotely, distance-based or virtually?
There are 6 key support elements that every leader should pay close attention to as you navigate through these unprecedented times:
- Change Management – Don’t ignore that your company or organization is experiencing change and that it will continue for months to come. Creating a strategic plan with tactical actions to achieve short, medium, and long-term goals are keys to success in this environment. Additionally, planning for the future should include finding new techniques and tools to help improve job performance and productivity.
- Empathic Leadership – As a leader, do you understand how you and your teams have been affected by change? Pride should become secondary to humanity. Leaders must find ways to balance productivity with decency. We call it H.E.A.R.T. ( Here, Engage, Ask, Respond and Take Action).
- Emotional Intelligence and mental resilience – Leaders must manage differently. The office is now beyond the walls and managing a virtual team requires a different psychological approach. You and your team will experience highs and lows and need to focus on incorporating time into your daily schedule to step back and reflect on how to manage emotional change, burnout and the isolation that may come with working remotely. Encouraging your team to set-aside time to reflect and celebrate small successes is an essential best practice of leading in this new environment. And, recognize that your team becomes a mirror of your actions and behaviors. So, how you cope with stress either positively or negatively will be reflected in your team’s approach and behavior to stress management.
- Relationship Building – The art of building relationships with superiors, peers and team members, while seeing them less in-person is essential for today’s leaders and their teams. Virtual networking is more vital than ever.
- Business Preparedness – You may never experience another pandemic in your lifetime. Yet challenging situations will occur. Using continuity checklists and protocols along with practice drills will help ensure you are ever-ready for rapid change.
- Company Culture – Your culture has changed. You may not realize it. It has. Have you defined the new post COVID-19 culture versus having it define you?