This is the third of a series of three posts outlining ways that leaders need supporting in these uniquely challenging times.
- The first dealt with what to do in the immediate term and can be found here
- The second looked at what support leaders will need as we transition back to a new sort of normal
- This one is focussed on leadership in the new organisations that will emerge in the aftermath of the pandemic
Five ways to support leaders once COVID-19 is no longer a decision-making factor
1. Re-define the organisational identity
The COVID-19 experience will define a generation in a way that nothing has since World War Two. As a result, our organisations will change whether we want them to or not. All people, including leaders, employees, customers and other stakeholders, will be different. It is the responsibility of leaders to define exactly what that means.
2. Learn lessons
Organisations of every sector, size and shape are already beginning to identify things to do better in the future. It will be important for leaders to make sure that those lessons continue being identified and captured, and then acted upon in our new organisations.
3. Embrace a new leadership mindset
The organisations that come through this experience the strongest will be those with leadership and cultural mindsets best suited to deal with the unexpected. Leaders should identify which organisations and individuals they could learn from and use those mindsets as a model to adopt for the future.
4. Extend systems awareness
If you are running a small local restaurant in rural Wales, a small story about some isolated incidents of a disease in a distant place called Wuhan used to feel unimportant. Our circumstances have increased our awareness of global interconnectedness; leaders ought to be extending their lines of sight to include wider systems far more than they have done up to this point.
5. Never forget
The collective trauma we will experience as a result of COVID-19 will only become fully apparent after several years. Some of the decisions leaders are having to make will be analysed for quite some time, and providing time to appropriately grieve will be important for leaders' own wellbeing.
After this extended time of disruption against a backdrop of continuous catastrophic news, there will be a temptation to leap back into what we think of as "business as usual" as quickly as possible. When the option to re-adopt historic ways of working is introduced, leaders should feel the permission to do this at a more measured pace, to minimise the disruption of another significant change at a time when some people may have only just grasped a "new normal".
We are keen to assist our clients as circumstances continue to change; if you would like an agenda-free conversation about any thoughts you're having on supporting your leaders at the moment, please do let me know.
Our organisations will change whether we want them to or not.