The current Covid-19 situation has resulted in unprecedented change. If we once thought that the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) accelerated technology and digital adoption, it does not even compare to what the world has been through over the past year.
More than ever, the health of businesses is urgently and visibly linked with the health of workforces, the health of our society, and the health of our planet. Previously unimaginable shifts in our daily lives are compelling companies to adapt quickly and identify creative, unconventional ways to operate and survive.
While the world as a whole has managed to survive, and in some small cases, even thrive amidst the pandemic, a second wave of Covid-19 brings with it the possibility of layoffs and furloughs. Worldwide economic uncertainty makes it more difficult for leaders to find their footing and those who like to operate from a place of clarity are finding few ports in this global storm.
As such, how can we move forward under these unique circumstances? The answer is positive and effective leadership. Being positive and optimistic can help to navigate crises, rebuild communities, and carve a path through uncertainty.
There are a number of things that leaders can do to remain positive and keep morale up. The first is to reemphasise your purpose. The temptation for businesses in moments of crisis is often to get small, to hunker down and zero in on bottom-line fundamentals and metrics. Now, instead of narrowing their focus, leaders in a crisis should consider pulling back and reminding themselves of their guiding principles. Emphasising your business’ purpose can instil confidence and goodwill among stakeholders who share principles.
Additionally, leaders can also ask themselves what actions should be taken to protect and support employees. Every employee is a human being with their own worries and problems. Leaders should take stock of who the stakeholders are, identifying what they need and recognising that said needs may differ in each case. The stakeholders are the people who drive and measure a business success, and particularly when success feels elusive, recommitting to them can reaffirm the trust, confidence, and morale required to forge ahead.
When faced with an overwhelming volume of critical decisions, leaders might feel the urge to limit authority and tighten control. But organisational resilience depends on more stakeholders and perspectives, organised across a network of cross functional teams with clear mandates. Empowering leaders with the right temperament and character those who stay curious and flexible and are willing to make the tough, even unpopular calls is vital for thoughtful and swift decision making.