In the business and consulting world, much is written about the need for leaders to display authenticity and build trust with employees, customers, and stakeholders.
The coronavirus has exposed what is working and what is not, as we adapt how we manage our teams and workplaces. What can leaders learn from the crisis? They don’t need a post-Covid transformation plan; they need a ‘listening plan’. Employees want to know their situation is understood.
Experiences with virtual meetings
One of the biggest challenges for leaders during the pandemic has been adapting to virtual meetings. In the past it’s been the person with the loudest voice in the room, or the one who gets to interrupt first, who usually has the most influence. Now it’s more likely to be the person with the best microphone, fastest broadband or good lighting who gets to influence others.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided us with a unique opportunity to stand back and look at the world of work in a new light. Many assumptions about the way we structure organisations and how we run them have come into question. The role of leaders is under more scrutiny than ever before.
How to lead and create a way forward in a fast-moving and ambiguous world.
It’s clear that we now live in a world full of confusion, ambiguity and disruption. The pace of change has outstripped our ability to keep up with it. Things don’t seem to work the same way anymore. It’s like someone has changed the rules on how to lead. Back in the day we were taught to be decisive, to give clarity, to drive results.
How kindness can transform the workplace for sustainability of the organisation
Across all cultures, since the beginning of time, there has been a sense of organised humanity. We suggest that kindness has always been a universal quality of this, although its manifestation may take various cultural forms.
Kindness in the workplace is our focus and the source of the change, or spark, we want to advance. It is the root of what we want to express. It involves the virtues of empathy – which is most important – along with humility, compassion, love, and respect.
We would argue that to date, and due to COVID-19, sustainability as ‘the new way of doing business’ has been side-lined and largely ignored. The clock is ticking, and short-term business thinking still prevails.
But what of the journey? What will leaders and businesses need to navigate to make this vision a reality? In the short term the challenge of stabilising the global economy will need to be overcome, employers will need to create a safe environment for employees to return to work and millions of workers worldwide will need to be re-skilled. Office space will need to be repurposed with every organisation needing to find a way to successfully accommodate remote working. Leaders will need to develop new skills to cope with the pace of change, the rapidly changing demands of employees and customers and meeting sustainability targets.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the world. Governments and businesses have been challenged as never before. Leaders are struggling to not only manage the immediate, but also the long-term impact for their businesses. The crisis has dramatically exposed many businesses for their lack of any kind of organisational resilience. As customer demand evaporated, Zombie companies saddled with enormous layers of debt and a lack of cash reserves expired almost overnight.
If we required a reminder of our need for resilience, the pandemic provides it.
Everybody has to go through difficult times in their life; some more than others. But the way we manage these situations determines how we are going to handle similar situations in the future and what we learn from them.