Effective leadership is more important now than ever before, and organisational success depends on it. Today, our senior leaders are finding themselves at the helm at a time of great uncertainty. They are being looked to for information, advice and solutions, which can be difficult to provide when dealing with this troubling and unprecedented state of affairs. We are often looking for answers that are simply not known.
So, what do we know? We know that positive behaviour and alignment with organisational values is of great importance. We know that people respond to, and have confidence in, a leader who can demonstrate a calm, measured, reassuring and empathetic approach.
During this Covid-19 period we have witnessed some exceptional leadership, with those in charge shining throughout. They have moved away from the ‘command and control’ approach to one of empathetic leadership, empowering others and working collaboratively with their senior teams.
Those leaders have not been afraid to understand their workforce on a more personal level, going out of their way to consider the challenges they may be facing in the new working environment and taking responsibility for inclusivity and diversity when their workforce is at home. Every employee is dealing with their own set of challenges whether it be home schooling, childcare, providing care, illness, assisting vulnerable relatives or even lack of space. The best leaders are inspiring people to understand their colleagues and create the space for everyone to voice their concern and have their individual experience of lockdown understood. Communication and transparency within teams is essential to encourage collaboration and feedback.
Many organisations are starting to move into the ‘rebuild’ phase, taking stock of where they are now and planning for the future. Larger organisations need to take to steps to become flexible, adaptable and agile. We need to be solutions focused and innovative, coming up with ideas and trying new things, all the while taking learnings from this time to forever change how businesses operate.
Now is the time to shift from managing the past to shaping the future. It’s the time to get the business agenda owned by the leadership team and the wider workforce. Diversity, inclusion, mental health and wellbeing should continue to be at the forefront, creating vehicles to hear the voices of your people, understanding their experiences during the pandemic and learning from that to identify and implement solutions going forward. This is an opportunity create smarter workplaces and workforces by getting all your people involved.
By Melissa Baxter
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