Normal is different for all of us now. What helps a business is how the leadership guides our businesses towards the “new normal” and helps us to manage our resources, balancing our personal and professional needs, and ensuring that we all come out at the other end (whatever form that takes), stronger and better.
"The secret of success is to do the common thing uncommonly well." -- John D. Rockefeller Jr.
If starting a business was hard, keeping it going in times of crisis is even harder. And crises do not come any bigger than the ones 2020 are throwing at us, regardless of size. We have made adjustments and taken hard decisions.
Good leadership is key to driving the direction and guiding your team to help them manage the challenges that this “new normal” will throw at us on so many different levels; to lead others and continue to evolve. Here are some of the key characteristics that will define the new leader.
Trust and Courage:
"In my experience as CEO, I found that the most important decisions tested my courage far more than my intelligence. Every time you make the hard, correct decision you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly." -- Ben Horowitz
Leaders who build trust will get more productivity – whether it is with your suppliers, vendors or your own employees. It is no longer about being right all the time, it’s about making the right decision and having the courage to make the decision that is right for the business. Sometimes this can be challenging with limited time and information. Courage also means being a champion of an idea or a course of action. It sometimes means staking out a tough and lonely position but also following through after great consideration.
"I'm convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance." -- Steve Jobs
Solving problems and getting things done in this volatile context means adjusting your approach to match changing conditions. Leaders need to have a mindset geared to view uncertainty as the new normal and be better prepared to view that unknown as an opportunity to capitalize on.
A lot of businesses have had to change the way they do business, implementing new procedures and systems to ensure they comply with local regulations as well as keep the business alive. Where you can, a good leader will take the input from their team and also share the process so that it does not come as a surprise to the team and gives them the time to adjust and adapt. It is the same as implementing any new system, there should be good communication, training throughout the process.
Managing and motivating remote teams:
“The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers: They all say, 'I didn't quit.' -- Ben Horowitz
Some businesses have taken some harsh HR-related decisions, while others have started returning to a hybrid model to give their teams the opportunity to manage the return at their own pace. This means that it is for the business leader to step up and manage and motivate teams.
With a continuing sense of fear and anxiety especially amongst employees, organisations will have to create a positive and healthy ecosystem where employees can thrive. Openness and frequency of different communication platforms, access to employee assistance programmes, a renewed focus on health and wellness initiatives – they all create a support system for employees to rely on.
"You don't need to have a 100-person company to develop that idea." -- Larry Page
Almost everyone is going digital or leveraging digital. Explore and support your teams with the right resources and tools to enable them to work from anywhere so that can boost productivity and wellbeing.
Be authentic and empathetic
"It is not necessary to do extraordinary things to get extraordinary results." -- Warren Buffett
Share what you are going through — be truly vulnerable. Be as transparent as you can be. It’s not about you, it’s about your team, so meet your team where they are. Recognize that some employees may have families and loved ones that will require their attention. Stay in open communication with them as to how you can support them. Take the time to personally care and show that you do by asking questions that reflect what you understand to be each person’s situation and need.
What kind of leader are you?