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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve the situation by the day. It has slowed down the global economy and changed business practices on a massive scale. People all around the world are going through a severe financial crisis as many companies had no other choice but to close down. The epidemic has compelled people to reshape their lives and adjust to a new standard. While some governments have eased the lockdown, and life seems to be getting back to normal, they are also working hard to practice social distancing and maintain hygiene.
These are highly stressful times, which have affected people’s emotional, financial, and mental conditions negatively. Managers and leaders have the added responsibility to maintain the wellbeing of their workforce. Their work doubled as they are performing their tasks with the increased stress of employees’ instability. Leaders have to stay abreast of the latest numbers of cases and keep the morale of the workforce high. The truth is leaders cannot motivate others and maintain the dignity of the workforce if they are struggling. The pandemic has also affected leaders, which is why, despite being competent and possessing great qualities, they are battling with negative emotions.
In most of the countries, educational institutes have not resumed their on-campus activities, and there seem to be no signs of opening them soon. A lot of schools have turned to digital tools and are effectively running online classes. E-learning saves you from the commute and gives you the liberty of making your schedule. Online learning is booming these days, and many students are enrolling in educational learning programs to enhance their skills. Prestigious institutes are offering several degree programs, and Masters in Education Policy & Leadership is one of the sought after degrees of the day as it gives an in-depth insight into leadership.
Leadership during these unfortunate times is exceptionally challenging.
Below are a few suggestions that will heal leaders to improve their leadership qualities in these unprecedented times
1. COMMUNICATE MORE
The general idea is that leaders have all the answers to all questions and solutions to all problems. When a team encounters a roadblock, they look towards their leaders for further instructions. An effective leader is a motivator, but always upright in his dealings. In these uncommon circumstances, leaders need to communicate more with their team members, and should not hesitate in seeking their assistance in company’s matters. Uncertainty is in the atmosphere of workplaces, and it gives birth to anxiety amongst employees. It is highly probable that workers will interpret their leaders to silence as a bad omen, which might demotivate them and affect their performance adversely. Open communication is integral for efficient leadership, but in this dubious situation, it is crucial to preserve the integrity of the workforce.
2. HAVE MORE THAN ONE PLAN
Life does not always go as our plan. Instead, it has a way of throwing things from nowhere. Leaders understand this and still have a plan B ready in case of an emergency. The outbreak of COVID-19 was a sudden occurrence, but now since people have adjusted to new routines, they are predicting about future. Leaders need to have more than one plan, as the situation continues to surprise us. Short term planning while keeping the ultimate goal in consideration is the need of the hour. Leaders should ensure maximum use of resources, and exhibit the firmness to preserve the company’s capital for long term objectives. In current circumstances, leaders might need to make some harsh decisions, and having more than one plan to deal with potential problems helps to display powerful leadership.
3. PERSONAL CARE
During an airplane ride, crew advises passengers to first wear their oxygen masks before helping others. When you have taken measures for your safety, only then you can be of any assistance. The current circumstances have taken a toll on everyone’s mental health, and leaders are also dealing with high-stress levels. Leaders’ emotional reactions to stressful situations have a ripple effect, and in no time, there is higher anxiety in the whole workforce. Leaders need to take measures for personal care, such as meditation, yoga, or exercise to manage stress. Indulging in their care will help them stay calm in aggravating conditions and lead potently.
4. NURTURE HOPE
Keeping hope alive in uncertain times is demanding as it requires control over one’s thoughts and emotions. The pandemic has mainly affected communities negatively, and people generally are not very hopeful about the future. Leaders need to look at the half-full glass and show the same side to their group members. Leaders are master of cultivating confidence, but during these times, determination alone may not be instrumental. Nurturing hope is making people, and oneself believe that despite the circumstances or numbers, they will turn out all right. A positive outlook gives a boost to energy and encourages workers to work with new zeal and spirit.
5. FOCUS ON MINUTE THINGS
Leaders focus on vision, strategy, plans, and execution. During a crisis, it is natural that their focus trembles, as stress engulfs their minds. Leaders need to have full concentration on big rocks, but during a catastrophe, little things also demand focus. To improve the efficiency of your leadership, you need to also act as a small thinker. Leaders are role models, and during these times, they should comply with social distancing, wear masks and gloves, and ensure sanitization.
COVID-19 has led many businesses into turmoil, and many companies are struggling hard to stay afloat. The unpredictability of the situation has raised anxiety and stress levels amongst the public. Leaders are finding it hard to demonstrate efficient leadership, but as they say, pandemics reveal the real person, now is the time to exhibit grit and display competent leadership. Although keeping calm and motivating others seem to take every ounce of energy, practicing suggestions as mentioned above will enhance leadership qualities.