The COVID-19 crisis put the entire world through the unexpected. While things may have calmed down a bit compared to when the pandemic first started, we're all still struggling to find our new version of 'normal' — whatever that will be. As leaders, it's up to us to at least pave the way for our employees, customers, and respective industries.
This crisis has demanded a lot from everyone. The pressure to be successful amidst such uncertainty caused many of us to rethink our entire operations, which meant changing our leadership approach. But I believe that unprecedented times create forward-thinking leaders.
While there are still undeniable challenges before us, we've been given the unique ability to completely transform what it means to be a leader from this point forward, so long as we're willing to take advantage of the opportunity. Here is what leadership may look like in a post-COVID workforce, and what we can do to thrive as the world continues to go through this massive shift.
Be More Adaptable to Change
Change has always been a constant, but the pandemic has shown us just how much can change in such a short period of time. While we've lived through our fair share of rapid transitions, transformation, whether influenced by positive or unpleasant events, will not slow down — and we shouldn't expect it to.
Rather than be paralyzed by rapid changes, leaders must find opportunities in the sudden shifts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. By resisting these changes, leaders risk having to close their businesses for good. One thing we can be sure of in all of this is that years from now, no organization should look the same as it did before COVID-19 hit. The leaders that will succeed will be the ones who are quick to adapt to change and will readily shift gears as many times as it takes to get it right.
Be Open To Ask for Advice
Not having the answers is a terrifying thing for some leaders to admit. When the perfect solution isn't right at your fingertips, it's tempting to be critical of yourself. Leaders have often shied away from asking for guidance because they feel like it's admitting defeat or signaling weakness. Yet, being transparent in front of your employees, as well as your outside mentors, is how you grow and develop.
We shouldn't be afraid to ask for advice. Despite society's perspective about leadership, no one has the answers to everything. Reaching out for help isn't a way of undermining your ability to lead; it actually earns you greater respect and provides you with invaluable insight that might have gone overlooked otherwise. Coming to such a realization will expand your perception a million times over and help you make decisions that will give your operations more staying power.
Be Willing to Both Re-examine and Change Your Internal Operations
The coronavirus pandemic has called for another phase of trial and error. With so many people working remotely, leaders stepping down or being promoted, and teams being downsized or called to take on more unique tasks, it's irrational to assume that the old ways of doing things are enough to get any operation through what lies ahead.
Being rigid or stuck in your ways will only cripple your ability to lead and cause others to lose faith in your vision. There is no better time to take a good look at the inner workings of your operations and rethink the strategies that are either outdated or relatively trivial in today's landscape.
Be More Open to Collaboration Than Ever Before
Embodying an autocratic leadership style is a sure way to fail miserably on all fronts. There has never been a greater need to band together to make collective decisions. Each person, no matter their age, background, experience, or area of expertise, has the ability to contribute something great to a company.
The most successful leaders understand the importance of collaboration, especially during such questionable times. A collective mind bears the sweetest fruits, so never snooze on your opportunity to make great use of the strengths, abilities, and expertise of others, and your operation will soar even when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds.
Be Willing To Take More Calculated Risks
It's possible you have probably never experienced a scarier time to take risks, but as you already know, there is no growth in stagnancy. The safety net you want so bad to hold on to is wearing thin, and it's time to take action. Fortunately, as an innovator, this is likely to come as second nature. The only thing different in today's climate is that you will be called to be a lot more strategic and observant than ever before. If you can't afford the possible loss, dial it back a little.
It's hard to gauge how long this pandemic will last and exactly how the world will look after it's under control, but some positives will inevitably emerge. When things fall apart, we are given a chance to rebuild them for the better. So, as a proud and courageous leader, it is up to you and your counterparts to do away with what doesn't make sense and find better ways towards a more promising future. The fate of leadership and your business is in your hands.