5 KEY LEADERSHIP TRAITS POST COVID
Now that the government has been forced to give the green signal to businesses to re-open business owners have heaved a sigh of relief. However, the challenge is many of them don’t know where to start from.
With a liquidity crunch and a drop in customer demand businesses have a whole new set of challenges they have probably never faced nor even imagined that they would.
Key challenges in the current environment:
Survival and growth
Keeping self & people motivated despite the prevailing negativity
A sense of insecurity about the future: Personally and as a team or business
Work from home challenges
Retaining customers and satisfying clients
Timely and effective project delivery
Managing a smooth supply chain
Uncertainty and Instability
There is nothing that could have prepared them for this new normal! With not just one or two issues to deal with, but being hit by a deluge of biblical proportions this is going to be a fight to stay afloat.
Big companies are going to fight for growth!
While, smaller companies will fight for survival!
With scarcer cash reserves and margins to manage the slump, businesses will need to re-invent themselves to stay afloat and chart a course through these turbulent times. There are a few key factors that every business is going to target; however, not all of them are going to achieve.
Key objectives of every business right now:
Find new ways to revive demand
Manage/Arrange funds & cash
Get operations back on track
Re-work the supply chain
Manage costs and cash flows through innovative methods
Increase productivity and efficiency across the organisation
Retain and regain customers
Engage and motivate employees
These objectives are no-brainers, everyone knows WHAT needs to be done, challenge is not every organisation is built or equipped to deal with HOW this needs to be achieved. Let’s understand how the key objectives can be achieved, how leaders can ensure the survival and growth in this business environment.
How the objectives can be achieved:
Come up with new products and sales strategies
Ideas, innovation and creativity in all areas- operations, sourcing, sales, production, human resources, etc
Smoother execution through New hybrid team structures and dynamics
Increased Communication and transparency
Incorporate Collaboration tools and technology
Create and use better Result and performance management tools
Foresight to anticipate and prepare for the new normal
Easy to say; however:
Is my team, business unit or organisation equipped to do these?
More importantly am I (The leader) doing what is needed to get the best from my team?
Have I built the right culture that enables these needs?
Does the responsibility to do all this lie on only my shoulders or are there other people willing and able to shoulder much of the responsibility?
Are people motivated enough?
The crux of the situation is that, “Your leadership skills are the key to steering your team out of this crisis”
According to my research and observation of some of the most successful teams in time of crisis, Five of the key leadership traits that have got the best outcomes are:
Radical Candor is a term coined by Kim Scott in her book by the same name. Here she defines it as “Radical Candor™ is Caring Personally while Challenging Directly. At its core, Radical Candor is guidance and feedback that’s both kind and clear, specific and sincere.”
This is more relevant today than it was when the book was initially written as today in a dynamic and volatile environment we need to ensure transparent and honest communication, along with, realising that we can’t waste time with irrelevant information, feedback or inputs.
Empathy and Compassion are today the pillars on which all teams will stand. It is
about placing yourself in others shoes, feeling and understanding the challenges they are going through. Remember the situation in your house is not the same as everyone else. Empathy creates a connection between people and conveys to the team that the leader is with them and cares for them as much, if not more than his concern for business results. This is the key moment for any team, as now they are likely to show much more loyalty, ownership and commitment towards their leader.
Promoting Hybrid teams are going to be the thing of the future! A departure from the traditional linear team structures, it is now going to be important to have mixed teams come together for execution of a project. They are likely to be a small mix of cross functional members or even teams within teams to facilitate smooth flow of work and follow-ups. Additionally, due to the WFH or social distancing norms team working becomes a challenge and leaders have to find ways to utilize their resources best and avoid focus on playing the blame game, instead focus on building a culture of accountability, ownership and Big Picture Thinking!
Empower and Enable- As a leader if your team is not enabled or empowered
enough, you are already running a little behind. However, it's never too late to spend time enabling and upskilling your team to handle tougher tasks and responsibilities. Empowerment is probably the most critical trait of a leader today as that will ensure the leader doesn’t become a bottleneck for decision making in today's need for agility and dynamism. Additionally, the leader needs his team to step up and feel empowered to drive many key factors like: New products and sales strategies, Innovative ideas to reduce costs and improve efficiency, new communication or reporting processes.
Envision- The leader of today needs to have a vision to guide and motivate people to look ahead. Envision and communicate the long term goals to get out of the current crisis and at the same time keeping focus on the short term goals will keep people motivated towards the achievement of the vision.
These 5 key traits are not the only ones; however, in my view at this time are critical to enable any organisation to effectively achieve the WHAT & HOW listed above.
Do connect with us to find out more about HOW you can lead your organisation through the current crisis and come out Surviving and Growing!!