As the third wave of Covid-19 sweeps through South Africa, many businesses are adversely affected by the adjusted regulations. However, as a business leader, all eyes are on you: your team, suppliers, shareholders, and staff all want to know what you will do, how you will lead, and how the business will survive the pandemic. This sort of pressure is insurmountable. Everyone has questions, and everyone needs a leader. That leader is you.
In this instalment of leadership lessons, I wanted to share five key points to leading through the pandemic:
Provide hope during the pandemic
When the world is changing – and in some instances fall apart – people may panic. This can manifest in many ways, from irrational shopping to unmanaged emotions.
One way you can help is to provide hope to your team. By providing hope and a plan, you can help refocus and reenergize those who are panicking. Hope has greater strength than fear, so use it to lead your team forward – regardless of the situation.
Base your decisions on data
It is easy to get caught up with false news, individual sentiments, or even your own emotions. However, as a leader, you need to base your decisions on data. Through data, you will keep your decision making consistent.
Plan ahead and for every possible eventuality
If you are only planning to pivot when your business model is no longer viable, you have waited too long. Plan months in advance and plan for every eventuality. This will help you to provide more hope, and give you the scope to manage your team and finances in a more effective way.
Look at the ecosystem that surrounds your business
It is easy to only focus on what is affecting your business. But to remain in business, you need your team to be focused too. Therefore, anticipate and talk to them about their needs and roadblocks. With children not being at school and studying from home, your team may need extra equipment. Maybe they require more time off during the day or adjusted working hours. Work with your team to make their and their families’ lives easy.
Have a backup plan!
Plans fail. It is no secret, and when you throw in the first-of-its-kind virus, it can make planning even harder. This is why as a business leader you need to have a plan B, a backup plan, a fallback plan. A plan for if the main plan does not work.
In summary, leading in the world today is difficult. Additionally, leading a team or a company when the world changes, regulations are change and new obstacles keep appearing; is not an easy task. As a leader, you need to take the time to gain perspective, provide hope, look at the bigger picture and plan! It’s the only way to lead through the pandemic.
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