Successful leadership in the new COVID reality will require a new approach to overcome the unforeseen challenges presented by the pandemic. So many plans for 2020 have been paused or fully abandoned in the wake of more pressing concerns. Organizations must learn to adapt, to continue finding innovative ways to carry on, to begin looking ahead. Here are a few potential traps and ways to overcome them as leaders begin rising to the challenge:

 

  • COVID changed the landscape of many aspects of our lives. The world will no longer operate like it did prior to the arrival of this virus.  Leaders should challenge their assumptions, existing plans, and business models to consider what must, or should, be different now.  The future still remains uncertain, but it is certain that many aspects of life will not return to what they were before.  Creative contingency plans will help ensure that whatever happens, leadership can be ready for it.

 

  • Anxiety runs high, and many employees may be fearful or personally impacted. Working from home can exacerbate their feelings of isolation. Leaders should spend 1:1 time with each employee to check in on them personally. Feedback and details about employees’ concerns can be valuable for leaders to calibrate the team’s processes and communications during this challenging time.

 

  • An aura of depression has come into the economy. With the future so uncertain, it can tempting for people to give up if results are suffering. Unfortunately, many may give COVID as a handy excuse if they fall short. Leaders should rally the team to rise to the challenge and not give up or use this pandemic as a pass. Team members should be both supported in their current circumstances and challenged to respond with full energy in a manner they won’t regret later.

 

Now is a moment of huge leverage for perseverance, creativity, and INNOVATION.  This moment represents a rare moment of maximum challenge and opportunity which skillful leaders will embrace.  Leaders should take the opportunity to reconsider all of their working assumptions, models, and systems, to re-envision possibilities in the “new normal”.  Now, in the midst of the uncertainty, is the time to take steps to build capabilities that their customers will expect and reward when momentum returns to the economy.