The coronavirus pandemic hit us unexpectedly. In spite of the situation at hand, many leaders were able to keep their focus intact and their workload steady. While it’s true that some businesses suffered more than others, most company leaders had enough resources to keep their business up and running.
Since a similar situation could always occur, learning how to manage such a crisis could be essential for the future. This is why we selected three of the best leadership lessons companies could have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check them out and let us know what your best skills are.
Lesson 1: When a crisis hits, action is the most valuable
You might not have all the answers when something as unexpected as a health crisis hits, but you can (and should) make quick decisions to save your company from hitting rock bottom. In the end, this is what great leaders do. Here are the most important points to remember and consider.
- Know exactly what is happening. Get your information straight from the source, not through intermediaries. For example, the best way to access real-time information during the coronavirus pandemic is through nurses and doctors. Research well to stay well-prepared for what’s about to come. If you don’t know where you are, how can you know where you’re headed?
- Make predictions. What could happen as a result of the situation at hand? What are the long- and short-term effects? How does it affect your business and what solutions do you see in the foreseeable future? How will your decision affect your employees’ lives? Don’t make final choices, make valuable predictions and then act on your gut feeling. This might not 100% safe, but nothing really is during a crisis.
- Consult with other stakeholders. Of course, these quick decisions are not always entirely yours to make. Everyone affected by this crisis should have valuable to say, so listening to various opinions is always recommended. In the end, it is your decision, but it’s based on information gathered from multiple individuals. You should look at the objective course of action and make a decision based on that.
- Taking responsibility for your decisions. On-the-spot decisions are very difficult. However, as a leader, you must take full responsibility for them. You will consult with many people along the way and research your data before making a call, so your decision will benefit the majority if not everyone working for you. In case it doesn’t, remember that you did your best to protect your company. During a crisis, this is the most you can do.
Lesson 2: Not having all the answers is okay – even as a leader
Some things – like a crisis – are out of your control- and that is totally okay. Don’t freak out, you can manage these situations by accepting your lack of control. Some things you don’t have the answers to. And not having all the answers is okay, even as a leader. During a research study at LinkedIn, 69% of CEO-level participants agreed that the COVID-19 was one of the most challenging experiences in their career.
Vulnerability in the face of crisis is okay. You must accept that you are not in full control of the outcomes. You must understand that you’re a human. Yes, you are doing everything you can to help out your company and you’re definitely taking responsibility for your decisions, but you don’t have all the answers. People value that in leaders. It shows that you’re honest and transparent instead of corporately polished. It shows that you know your place and know that you cannot control everything. It shows strength in the face of crisis. It helps you stay open and visible to everyone in the company, which is a major benefit.
Lesson 3: Building trust pre-crisis is absolutely crucial
If you want to be respected and listened to during a crisis, you must create strong work partnerships before that. Building trust with employees is not difficult as long as you stay open and sincere. Here are some tips worth considering.
- Understand that building trust takes effort from both sides. You cannot expect your employees to put in more effort than you. And if they do, you’ve got to match that effort. Show them how much you respect them, open a bridge for communication.
- Be supportive and attentive to their needs. Leave your door open at all times. if they have questions along the way, be there for them. Let them know that they can come to you with any questions they might have.
- Sometimes, it’s your turn to be quiet. You need to listen to their opinions and be open to receiving constructive feedback. As I mentioned before, building trust goes both ways, so openly listen to your staff’s opinions. Listen actively to their ideas and points and consider them carefully.
- Never stop. You cannot “build trust in 7 days,” that is simply impossible. Trust is earned, so it takes time to build it effectively. Be consistent in showing support and sympathy towards your employees. Be consistent in listening actively to their comments. Be consistent in keeping your commitments.
- Practice what you preach. You cannot lie to your employees and expect them to be honest with you. You cannot hide things from your staff and expect them to come clean about everything. Create a culture that supports honesty by being honest. Create a culture that supports transparency by being transparent. The list goes on.
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