Important things the pandemic has taught us about leadership
by Laura Hillhouse, on September 24, 2020
Many of us, if not most, have experienced uncertainty over the past few months in every aspect of our lives. Having good leadership is something that we can all say helps when we’re feeling anxious or aren’t quite sure of the right next steps.
Politicians aside, business leaders across the world have stepped up to lead their employees through a very trying and stressful time in their lives. Leaders have coached employees through the UK furlough scheme and kept them updated on what this means for them if they aren’t able to keep operating. Others have introduced employees to new ways of working while they navigate a remote world and others have welcomed employees back when their industries have re-opened. Whatever the situation, there are leaders out there who have really stepped up for their teams and the future of their businesses.
This is not to say every company has had the benefit of great leadership, there are many that haven’t been so fortunate. However, it’s inspiring to see so many businesses still fighting to keep going and making sure the wellbeing of their employees is of high importance. This has perhaps been one silver lining of Covid-19. It has enabled or even forced businesses to manage better and achieve what they need to quicker (https://www.mckinsey.com). And, it has made it so it will be hard to abandon these new principles of working we’re now operating by. For those businesses that have been working remotely, it has proved for many that this is a chance to offer this type of flexibility to employees. How can we go fully back to the way we worked before? Especially, when most employees have proved themselves to be able to be capable of working efficiently while being remote. Though, not everyone will want to work full-time from home after this is all over, Covid-19 has allowed leaders to see that this is a chance to improve the work-life balance with less commuting times and more family time. Good leaders will notice and use this to improve the wellbeing of their employees.
Leaders who enable teams and who are embracing the changes that we’re facing with technology and new ways of working will thrive (https://mckinsey.com). These are also going to be the businesses and brands people fight to work for in the future. And as some leaders have shifted their societal priorities, more people are sitting up and taking notice of those who are trying to make a difference. For example, some hotels across the country have been making accommodation available to the homeless during the pandemic and other organisations have jumped in to help produce medical supplies. And while, not every organisation has been able to make big moves such as this, just looking after their employees has been enough to show that great leadership helps during times like this.
Businesses who have managed to change direction and keep pushing ahead are a testament to both their great leaders and their great employees. And, although things are looking tough and that we might not be out of the woods as soon as we hoped, seeing that leaders are still pushing on is hopeful for the future. Let’s hope this is something we can continue on with and don’t lose sight of! Leading with empathy and your employees as your top priority is something that can help in making a business a successful one, now and for the future.