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Real time data on leadership issues

Remi Baker

Hearing from leaders in the last week or so it’s abundantly clear that the expression ‘business as usual’ is fast becoming redundant; what we really need to talk about is ‘business as different’. When we go ‘Outside’ we won’t be ‘Going Back’. There’s going to be a lot of work needed to restore, rejuvenate and re-energise organisations and our economy, at both micro and macro levels.

When as a society we emerge from our home office burrows, it won’t be by collectively dusting down our work clothes, jumping on the train and returning to our offices, as many were used to. The concept of work-life balance, efficiency and productivity will have radically shifted and transformed. Our concept of time will be different. We will have discovered new levels of lateral thinking and creativity; we will know what we can do under real pressure; how adaptable we are; we will have learnt new skills and if it hadn’t been before, technology will mostly certainly be a close acquaintance, if not our very best friend. We may have new operating models, organisational structures and cultures.

There is no real precedent for this time we are in and therefore no rule book. It’s a significant leadership challenge for the government, businesses of every size and indeed society at large. It’s impacting people personally and professionally and there’s a lot of anxiety as people worry about loved ones, communities and of course job security.

Talking to organisations of different sizes and sectors has enabled us to gather real time data on the issues that leaders are grappling with, as well as uncovering shining examples of leaders who are surviving and thriving.

What Leaders Are Struggling With:

  • Dealing with uncertainty
  • Remaining resilient
  • Asking for help
  • Supporting others to adapt to rapid change
  • Leading a virtual team
  • Keeping team morale up
  • Reducing team stress and anxiety
  • Maintaining team focus
  • Sustaining operational rhythm

Conversely, through our many virtual coaching conversations we are also hearing from leaders who are discovering new strengths and meaning out of chaos: they are bringing order, a sense of calm and optimism to the fore.

What Leaders Are Discovering: 

  • Leading with greater pace
  • Simplifying processes and procedures
  • Putting purpose before profit
  • Connecting with humanity
  • Deepening team connections
  • Putting leadership skills learning into practice
  • Using instinct as a data point
  • Changing their relationship with time
  • Road-mapping as the new planning

Certainly, all the leaders we’ve spoken to are acutely aware that how they ‘show up’ as a leader and a human being is critical for business momentum now and post Covid-19; it’s a tremendous test of leadership character.

More than ever it’s the time to live and breathe organisational values and ensure that they are off the wall and off the page and out there for colleagues, customers, supply chain partners and shareholders to see and believe. Leaders are telling us that the biggest difference from other times of monumental change is the level of empathy; many are noticing that they are being experienced as a lot more human by their teams and feel all the better for it. From WhatsApp groups to Zoom calls with their teams (and often by default extended families) leaders are finding new levels of humanity.

Long may it last.

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