December 4, 2020
Leadership During These Times
The pandemic with many employees either laid off or working remotely and various equity initiatives being called for and initiated by more companies has cast a wide net over the spectrum of leadership and CEOs expected these days. How and what might CEOs do to be better received and heard these days?
Ambiguity is an essential trait today as no one expected a pandemic, and who knows what the future holds? That, plus the current recession and the capacity to adapt to change, are ever so important. In returning to a “new normal,” it’s likely that companies will see several changes over the coming years. Being agile and adaptable will be strong assets.
Accompanying this will be the capacity for agile decision-making. This became acutely important as the pandemic sped through different cycles and local governments instituted different measures to deal with its spread.
Understanding and embracing new technology will also be key. The pandemic accelerated AI in many industries, and other advances will add to the evolving landscape. The ability to understand how these advancements will benefit their business will be an asset in redefining operational processes and business models as well as customer engagement and experience.
Another key strength will lie in being able to assemble and manage a great team. Being able to see and anticipate the kind of strengths required to help the company achieve its goals and surrounding oneself with team members who bring those skills is key.
Heightened calls for more equity and inclusion also demand leaders with good people skills. This calls for CEOs who display empathy in understanding worker fears and hopes. Employees need to feel they’re being heard and understood. This can be demonstrated by being more engaged in conversations, particularly surrounding inclusiveness, adversity, obstacles, and victories.
Good listening is more important than ever. Employees are more likely to feel there’s a genuine connection when they feel they’ve been heard. One way of affirming that is to occasionally repeat what was stated as a way to validate a comment or remark.
Displaying vulnerability from the perspective of asking for help and inviting ideas and suggestions builds relationships. It also sends a message that the answer to tomorrow’s questions rests in everyone’s input and efforts, not just the CEO’s.
Being authentic and acknowledging fear or apprehension allows the CEO to be seen as human. It removes any barriers or feelings of emotional separation. CEOs who are willing to reveal their true selves allow others to enter and feel welcomed.
Connecting and agreeing on a shared purpose can bring people together. More importantly, team members who know that what they are doing matters make the goal purpose-driven and motivate one another. And where there is a purpose, we often discover others who turn out to be the crucial differentiators.
Often overlooked but ever so powerful are these two words which can lift employee spirits and morale. “Thank you!”