Leadership during Lockdown
Since lockdown began, we have seen the quality of leaders across all industries tested like never before. At the same time, we have witnessed a rise in emerging talent as individuals show their value through creativity, continued development and effectively managing their teams all whilst working remotely.
Below is few observations we have made from following the actions of different leaders during the lockdown. We are sharing this as an insight into some of the most effective actions taken by leaders during this time:
For most of us, we have not had to experience something like this in our lifetimes, which can leave us feeling anxious for our safety and the safety of our loves ones from both a health and financial perspective.
Effective leaders have taken action to ensure the safety of their teams, either by sending them home prior to the lockdown being made official and/or applying for the government grant of 80% pay for furloughed staff.
If you want to see the true measure of a person, look not at how they treat their equals, but how they treat those they're responsible for.
Looking out for the welfare of your team members makes those individuals feel they are valued by their leaders and creates loyalty to leaders and the business who are looking out for them in times of crises.
Communicate, even if there's nothing to communicate.
As mentioned, a lot of people will be feeling anxious in the face of uncertainty caused by Covid-19 especially around their job security. It’s important that leaders continue to make regular on-going communication with their teams to keep them updated on what’s happening within the business. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to check in with your teams every hour of every day, just a few emails or calls to make them feel that they have not been forgotten.
Mental Health Awareness
Another element brought up recently by some of our clients is the concern for their staff’s mental health, especially in industries with high suicide rates. A lot of us have recently gone from being surrounded by people all day, every day, to living in isolation whilst following social distancing rules. We have been informed that some of our clients are arranging regular check ins with their teams and have even organised mid-morning online coffee breaks. Given the lockdown is set to continue for the foreseeable future, that 15-minute coffee break may just be the time you or one of your team needs to keep them going through the day.
Self & Team Development
In the interest of remaining productive and protecting mental health of their teams, some of our clients are encouraging their teams to take full advantage of this new time to focus on their own self-development or developing their teams. Recently we have been informed of a client arranging a series of 60-minute “master classes” for their staff to learn about topics such as managing teams remotely, accountability and performance management.
If you emerge from lockdown and you haven’t learned at least 1 new skill, you never lacked the time, you lacked the discipline.
Consider what actions you could take for your own development or what you can do to develop your team members. Perhaps you could train a team member to complete a new task? Give or receive coaching? Or take an online course in a topic you’re interested in.
Life after Covid-19
As well as dealing with the present, effective leaders are considering what working life could be like for themselves, their teams and the businesses they work for when lockdown is over. Things some of our clients have been considering are:
- More Remote Working – With service levels being maintained with teams working from home and costs potentially being reduce. The possibility of this becoming more common in workplaces is looking very likely.
- The Office 'Reunion' – What will happen when everyone returns together after lockdown? We’ll all have stories to tell, for some of us we would have been receiving 80% pay to take an extended break at home. For others, they would have been working even harder to ensure there is a business for workers to return home to. The potential for conflict is there, how could we prevent this?
- Competitors – What actions did their competitors take or not take during the lockdown? How effective where these actions? What best practices could we adopt for future improvement.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start considering what opportunities and challenges will emerge in workplace when lockdown measures are lifted.
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