As a leader, your responsibility has always been to keep your team safe, connected and productive. But when a global pandemic intervenes, how do you flex with it?
What do you need to adapt about your leadership style to better support your people? In the last nine months, there’s been a huge shift towards wellbeing and building psychological assets to help your team prosper and perform.
So your role now comes with new challenges – and opportunities. Balancing team wellbeing and performance with delivering value for senior management, board members and stakeholders takes a certain set of skills.
Here are five ways to become a better leader with authenticity, empathy and confidence through a pandemic.
1. Stay optimistic
Being optimistic instead of catastrophising means striving to see opportunity in adversity. There are things we can and cannot control. Encouraging your teams to persist in their efforts at work builds resilience – in turn, your investment in morale-boosting strategies will result in motivated individuals who feel supported and inspired through challenging times.
2. Communicate authentically
This comes more easily to some people than others (especially if your leadership style tends to be more autocratic) but you can learn to develop powerful communication skills. Empathy, honesty, transparency – these have become buzzwords for leadership in coronavirus times. Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky displayed all these skills, and more, in his heartfelt note to staff explaining 1,900 redundancies.
Show your vulnerability without compromising your leadership and refine these skills through tailored coaching.
Be the trusted source for your people and deliver news without the huff and the puff of remote leaders. With any communication plan, it matters less that you communicated something and more that your audience understood it.
3. Embrace a 360-degree perspective
Check in with your team outside the remit of work. What’s going well for them? Do they have any domestic issues they are struggling with and how are they adapting to working from home? When you rely on computer screens for interaction, it’s not easy to get a rounded sense of how people are really coping. Dig a little deeper.
Show your team that you’re visibly committed to their wellbeing. Make sure they’re clear about the way forward and confident in your ability to lead with integrity. That they can trust you.
4. Collaborate freely
Leverage the power of your people. Create an open and honest culture by being seen to collaborate freely to get better outcomes – for individuals and for the wider organisation. A pandemic is a great leveller. When a virus is spreading like this is, no one is immune. We’re all in it together.
Great leaders also know they need help and guidance to navigate troubled times and achieve collective goals.
This is also where teaming up with like-minded partners can add value and bring support at a granular level to help boost executive skills, facilitate transitions and empower individuals through change.
5. Steady the ship and resolve conflict with empathy
Small issues can escalate in a corona environment – with distractions from core work, teams may look internally, unpick behaviours and mindsets. There can be conflict in actions and attitudes amplified by individual responses to an uncertain and stressful world.
Reassure your team, customers and stakeholders that you are dependable and ready to step up. Show that you’re in touch with reality and have the courage to face difficult situations.
Meet this head on, stay empathetic and resolute. In the event of deeper organisational issues, for example, communicating redundancies, tackle these with external help. Outplacement support can be very useful to deliver messages that won’t be heard easily.
When we emerge from coronavirus, the world won’t be the same. Now more than ever, those leaders with the skills and the commitment to power through adversity with agility and resilience, will be the ones who thrive.
At City CV, we can help you consolidate your leadership skills to add value to your team, your organisation and most of all, yourself.
Email us today or call us on + 44 (0)20 7100 6656 for a confidential discussion.