This will be the first in a series of three posts outlining ways that leaders need supporting in these uniquely challenging times.

  • This one deals with what to do right now
  • The next will look at what support leaders will need as we transition back to a new sort of normal
  • The third will be focussed on leadership in the new organisations that will emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic

Five ways to support leaders in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis

1. Listen to understand 

The experience that people are having at the moment is unique in history. There isn't a wealth of literature for leaders to access as a good practice, so the most value we can add to leaders is providing a space to safely process thoughts and emotions with another person.

2. Communicate the importance of good leadership support 

Leadership development is good to maintain when circumstances are predictable, and we should not be apologetic about the value it offers at times like this. A short webinar around leading remote teams, executive coaching delivered via video and helpful podcasts could all give leaders the chance to improve in their ability to make good decisions and communicate clearly at this challenging time.

3. Forgive quickly

When people are thrown into the unknown with virtually no notice, immediate reactions of anger, anxiety, grief and even guilt and shame can be triggered. When not dealt with appropriately, these will often lead to unhealthy and negative behaviours, which may be directed towards you and others you have responsibility for. These times will pass, and keeping hold of the longer-term view and choosing to believe the best of people will build the best environment for your organisation.

4. Be more disciplined than normal around task management

Under normal circumstances it’s easy to be distracted by those things that are urgent and unimportant, and this becomes even more apparent in a crisis situation. When what is urgent and important is constantly changing, feelings of stress and helplessness can lead to a drop in productivity, and proactively raising awareness of the important is hugely helpful.

5. Remember gratitude

Tim is a CEO with a desperate struggle to lead an organisation in crisis, while educating his distracting children. Louise is another CEO, embracing her once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enjoy every mealtime with her family while gaining a new appreciation for the wonders of technology. Those who cultivate gratitude during this season will naturally have a longer-term view, make better decisions and remain healthier.

A large proportion of the coaching we provide is already delivered remotely, at scale and within a leading governance and assurance framework, and we are looking to provide whatever assistance we can to our clients during this unprecedented time.

If you would like an agenda-free conversation about how you are supporting your leaders at the moment, and thoughts you’re having about the future, please do let me know.