When COVID-19 hit, countries around the world enacted widespread social distancing measures and the way we worked changed overnight. The shutdown changed how companies deliver products and services, shifted the employee workplace to a home office and transformed how consumers buy and receive goods and services.
Businesses across the nation responded differently to the crisis. Some were prepared to shift to a digital marketplace, some struggled by making changes slowly but surely, others thought they could wait it out and many have closed their doors for good.
"A good leader leads the people from above them. A great leader leads the people from within them." --M.D. Arnold
Now, we are all clear that this pandemic will be around for a while and as a result it has changed how we work, connect and live our lives for the long-run. This new era has accelerated our thinking on how we will also lead an organization by building a future-focused workforce.
In this article, I’d like to share a few leadership strategies companies can use to energize their teams to stay productive.
Pivot means to fundamentally change the direction of the business.
Pivotal Leadership I about having the ability to assess a situation, make quick decisions to respond, communicate and take action. Great leaders are always pivoting, innovating and finding new ways to achieve results.
Think of companies like GM and Ford who made a simple pivot and produced 100,000- ventilators for hospitals. How about distilleries that now make hand sanitizer, schools that have transitioned to an online learning format or healthcare professionals that now practice telemedicine.
Our circumstances call for us to change our business model, what we deliver, how we deliver and how we lead our workforce to maintain productivity.
Here are 5 pivotal leadership strategies that you can implement right away:
1. Re-examine your personal and team resilience. During the first wave of the pandemic, we were able to operate off of adrenaline-failed response. This second wave of the pandemic will require psychological stamina related to our deep-seated emotional patters, individual needs and historical experiences.
The second wave requires perseverance and endurance to fight against the bored and disconnect we are all feeling from this pandemic.
2. Increase psychological stamina for you and your team will be: Do not allow complacency or inaction. You and your team should focus on critical tasks that need to be done now to survive or thrive, plus preparing for how we can emerge from this crisis a stronger company.
Operate with compassion and containment. A focus on helping people feel comfort and understanding in uncertain times, vehicle still demonstrating a sense of stability and setting limits that keep people focused on moving forward.
Sustain energy in yourself and teams daily. Don’t allow the day-to-day become mundane. For example, the Lego Group has defined a central leadership principle as “Energize Everyone, Everyday”. Other companies are setting up competitions or breaking projects into prints to jumpstart action and activity.
3.Make workforce productivity and collaboration tools a tier-1 priority. Working with leadership and your employees to find the right mix of tools and automated systems to keep employees engaged, should be a key priority.
4.Give employees what they want! Employees want transparency, clarity around goals, alignment, access to information, insight into the work being done and effective conversations that help them drive work forward. These are the keys to greatly improve employee morale, engagement and productivity.
5.Learn new ways to build culture outside of the building. The reality is that culture exists within the people, not the walls that contain them during the work-week. We must be able to build culture in the living rooms and home offices of our employees across the country.
Bottom line, culture is “how we do things around here,” and it is sum of an organization’s values, behaviors and decisions that make each company unique whether people are in the office or not.
The workplace and workforce have now been separated, while work, home and school have been brought together. Ultimately leaders must learn how to pivot, focus on growth the future and meeting new needs with bold solutions.