The pandemic has challenged leaders in completely new ways. For many toys, growth rate and unpredictability make this a crisis different from any other. Leadership practices that may have been successful in the past will not necessarily work now, especially given how many employees have moved to remote work.
Instead of sticking to a pre-determined crisis response plan, leaders need to develop new behaviors, values, and mindsets that will help them put current events in perspective and look ahead to the future. This serves as a foundation on which managers can rely to help them guide employees through difficult times.
Showing employees that their leaders care about them is essential. David Blumberg, founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital, said, “In a remote environment, it is important to be empathetic and to be able to communicate on a personal level. “When people feel connected, listened to and supported, they are more motivated to be committed to any goal.”
Promoting psychological security
Kevin Hrusovsky, CEO of biotech firm Quanterix, points to the strength that comes from psychological security in teams. “Innovation can happen at all levels of an organization, but only if we give employees a voice and create an environment in which they feel comfortable talking,” he says. “As leaders, we need to create secure environments for transparent discussion.”
Reinforce your values
To create these secure spaces, it can be helpful to build on your company’s core mission and values. “When you are surrounded by uncertainty, it is very important to rely heavily on your culture and core values while not avoiding the frequent communication of these values as a team,” says Chris Comparato, CEO of Toast restaurant management platform. “This is essential to help your team get through the change and not get stuck.”
communicate a clear vision
Open and transparent communication with a strong vision of how you plan to lead your company in difficult economic times will bring much needed comfort to employees who may feel anxious.
“Leaders who proactively approach employees at all levels for a check-in often communicate and provide important enterprise information – working side by side with their colleagues. This is very important for employees. ” says Ed Barrientos, CEO of the Brazen virtual employment platform.
“A clearly communicated mission can also help keep employees motivated and give them a sense of control they lack in other areas of their lives at the moment,” adds Hrusovsky.
Find what works for your team
What is successful for one company may not work for another. It is critical for leaders to think subjectively about their course of action.
“For my company, attending all levels of the company resonates more with the team than just a friendly virtual meeting at the end of the day,” says Barrientos. “As a leader, ensuring that employees are seeing you as an active participant, adapting business strategies to accommodate all employee changes and preferences over the remote period, shows that you are listening to them even during the most difficult times.”
Think rationally, not emotionally
Finally, it is critical that leaders take a long-term view and act rationally, rather than being driven by emotions. The actions taken should be based on a clear set of assumptions that are communicated throughout the organization and re-applied as needed.
“Leaders must always focus on achieving long-term strategic goals,” says Blumberg. “With a long-term view, it is easier to act rationally and resist emotional upheaval.”
To practice this, managers need to adopt strategies that they think best support the most vital aspect of their role: making a positive difference in the lives of the people they lead.