Our status quo has been disrupted and there is no going back.
COVID has changed our conversations, connections, and communities. It has changed our lives in an extraordinary way, but it also provides us with the opportunity to reimagine how we want to live in the future.
During times of crisis, we have tended to look back on previous experiences to navigate the way forward, to sit in the comfort zone of what we know. We relied on old ways of doing things to make it through tough times. That option is now off the table. We now need to get comfortable with the unknown, to adjust to continuous streams of change. We need to embrace uncertainty, make decisions on the fly and respond to whatever comes our way. Here are 6 brilliant lessons for leaders from the COVID crisis and I believe it starts with six C’s:
The pace and rate of change are speeding up and coupled with increasing levels of complexity, this presents leaders with the challenge of inspiring people through uncertainty. We do not work at our best when we feel destabilised, so leaders will need to be able to stimulate adaptability, motivation, and safety. Key will be maintaining support and workforce performance in an uncertain environment, building resilience and agility to respond to whatever comes your way.
If COVID has taught us anything it is that while we thought we were being creative, really we were only tinkering on the edges. Courage will be needed to make truly transformational changes and to find optimism in a crisis. We need to consider new models of business, new technologies, and new ways of connecting with people. Regardless of where you are on your journey, the COVID crisis has shown us that anything is possible and we need to remain nimble, open, and courageous.
We are being pushed to find new and novel ways to do business, provide support, increase our efficiencies, and remain sustainable. Innovation has been on many leaders’ minds for some time due to technology, but it was not always taken seriously and when times get tough often it lost its shine in favour of keeping things simple and getting back to basics. This crisis has sped up the need for us to be creative, to adapt to changes from every direction. Environments that foster innovation and creative problem solving will be best placed to respond to whatever the future holds.
4. Commercially Minded
More than ever we need to consider our external operating environment. Getting across new customer behaviours, flexible working models, economies of scale, changing markets and new financial models are required. This includes using technology to facilitate engagement and connection. We need to play to our strengths, consider partnering to address gaps and being adaptable to changing market conditions will help you to build a sustainable business. We cannot afford to be complacent.
Our people will need confident leaders to support them when it gets tough. Leaders will have to recognise that they need to give their people greater flexibility over when, where, and how they work, learn and connect. The traditional workplace will never be the same again. Showing confidence in your people as we navigate this will be essential to maintaining trust and trust is crucial in demonstrating to our teams that we have their back as we consider new ways of unlocking higher levels of potential, engagement, and productivity.
We need strong leadership teams that can collectively build and maintain robust and sustainable businesses that contribute to stronger and wiser communities. It is about working together, building our leadership so we can collectively guide our teams and through these unchartered waters. The landscape has changed forever, but what remains constant is the impact that leadership can have. Great leaders know that connecting people through purpose and passion will set their business apart from all the rest, which brings me to the 6th C.
Leaders need to care. They need to care about their people, about leading in the new normal. We need leaders who can nurture human optimism, even when the future looks bleak. We need leaders who can spark inspiration when things seem impossible, and we need leaders who will sit alongside people to work through vulnerabilities and trust their people to make decisions in the heat of the moment. Our people will be called upon to step outside their comfort zone, to bounce back quicker, to adapt to new ways of doing things and they need care and consideration to continue to remain focused, give their best, and stay up to date.
COVID continues to wreak havoc and evolve and it is not going away. It has taught me not to sweat the small stuff, and maintain a long-term focus. Now is not the time to hang on to old comfort zones. It’s time to unlock our potential that may have been stifled through good times when there is less need to break the mold. There has been no better time to build more engaged and meaningful workplaces, where passion and purpose thrive. People who can lead through high levels of complexity and uncertainty will be key to the accomplishment of extraordinary things.
If you are ready to make these part of your everyday leadership, Leaders Change Room is ready to support, guide and coach you.