Consumers expect brands to step up and do their bit during COVID-19, and workers are looking to their employers to lead them through this uncertain time. As a leader it’s therefore critical to react accordingly during these stages in your company’s evolution. From your leadership style and internal communications strategy to product and/or service offerings and long-term business plans, everything needs a shift.
Don’t do what everyone else is doing
If you don’t have one already, now is the time to adopt a challenger mindset—a bold attitude that combines a disciplined, self-directed vision with the drive to take convention-busting, “blow-shit-up” risks. And encourage your employees to do the same. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this means pivoting—and pivoting in creative ways—to develop new products or services for customers, and instead of taking the easy way out and disappearing on audiences, communicating with them more than ever.
Make sure your leadership style puts your people first
Now is the time to be culture crazy. A culture that puts its people first generates the energy and support—that going of the extra mile—talented and creative people need to do their best work. Times are tough right now and many employees are uncertain about their futures, so whatever you do, don’t go silent on them.
This ties in with what we call a ‘LennHill’ approach to leading the business. It centers around a dichotomy of, firstly, practicing compassion, honesty, and transparency—a leadership style that mirrors John Lennon’s take on life. It’s about keeping employees up to date with how things are evolving and sharing information with them openly and honestly via company-wide video calls and email comms. Now is also the time to launch internal initiatives to boost employee morale—daily updates from department heads, Wellness Wednesday activities, virtual DJ sessions, and themed team trivia hours are all great examples.
Work in, but also on the business
Managing day-to-day operations—working in the business—like culture are key, but you should also work on the business simultaneously. Working “OTB” relates to your brand, trajectory, EBITDA, and growth. It’s your road map to long-term success and sustainability, and something that must be adjusted amid COVID-19.
It’s where the other half of the LennHill leadership style dichotomy comes into play—the Winston Churchill school of thought, which is focused on the core operations. You’re analyzing the revenues, operating costs, staff headcount, and assessing what needs to be done to stabilize the business. There are some difficult decisions to make, but you’re looking at what needs to be done in order to fight most effectively, so that you never have to close your doors—or surrender.
Embrace the 24/7 cycle
Chances are, you’re operating on a much leaner model than before, but quality of life remains important. Encourage your people to respect the weekend, and to avoid inundating colleagues with non-urgent emails.
Step up as a business leader and make yourself available and accessible to employees and clients around the clock. At times like this, not only do your people need you more than ever, your clients do too. And the clients you support through a trying time like this? They’ll remember you for years to come.
We’re all familiar with the work/life balance phrase, but the work/life blend approach is a more effective leadership style to embrace during COVID-19 and other times of crisis. It’s an infinity cycle where we never really come in and out of work, and in doing so we’re able to find a proper blend where we can continue to navigate the business through difficult times like the pandemic, yet don’t burn out.
As humans we tend to resist change—we don’t like the uncertainties that it brings, and many of us are creatures of habit. Situations like COVID-19 leave us with no choice but to change in all aspects of the word. The leaders that act—and act fast? They’re the ones that won’t have to close their doors.
We’ll see you on the other side.
View the article as it originally appeared online here.