Leading through and beyond the pandemic

ASK MD Alex Speed writes today on the impact of Covid-19 on businesses and leadership

Much of the work the ASK consultants and psychologists focus on when they develop learning and training programmes for our partners and clients centres around the term VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments which challenge the essence of leadership.

Never has this been more relevant than now, during the global pandemic which isn’t just impacting our own industry, but the nation’s economy, global economy and every business and employee around the world.

Leadership is never straightforward – because people are complex, changeable and individual – so the way in which we lead has always had to be flexible and adaptable in order to be successful. Now, as leaders are trying to navigate through a situation none of us have ever experienced or planned for, that complexity has had to take enormous leaps forward to survive.

Leading our teams now means distance working, home working, communicating via digital methods rather than face to face, connecting with customers in new ways, being more flexible with working hours and methods, and adapting essentially overnight, and focusing more on the soft skills of empathy, compassion, tolerance and patience than on the traits which you may have more traditionally considered ‘leadership skills’.

Assess your current situation

Take a moment to look at your leadership team, and the way in which they usually communicated with their team; think about how they planned steps for the business to take, and the distribution of needs through their workforce; the expectations, the standards and the support.

Now consider how those things have changed in the last two months, since lockdown began and became ‘the new normal’ in our working lives. Have they adapted well? Has your team – some furloughed, some working from home, some part time, some flexi-time, all making things work in the best ways that they can – maintained communication and a sense of community with their colleagues?

This has been a steep learning curve for everyone in business – for leaders and employees alike – and as time moves forward and things begin to take steps back towards office based working, bringing teams physically back together, and the proven success of home-working is embraced more often in many teams, how have these leadership lessons been best applied to your organisation – and which of these new methods, traits, skills and allowances will you be bringing forward into the next phase of ‘normal’?

The lessons we have all learned about being more flexible, more human and more communicative – enforced by the need to share all of our steps because they can’t be seen happening by our colleagues simply by being in the same physical space – have progressed leadership, learning and employment in huge leaps in a very short space of time.

Adaptability – agility in how we approach leading and learning – gives people the freedom and support to take ownership of their own work, autonomy leading to bigger leaps forward, better relationships with your team and with your customers or clients, and better balance between their work life and their home and family life. This better balance means your team are happier, more productive and more proactive.

This ability to embrace these changes, to adapt what you can offer to your customers to protect your organisation in this new reality, and adapting your services to meet current and future needs, is what will make the difference between success and failure – and the most important skill your leadership and management team need for this is communication.

We are changing with – and for – you

Through the past weeks we have made these changes within our own team – learning, as you are, to work with a widely spread team, all working from home and balancing their family needs with the challenges of this distance working. We had to rewrite and rework much of our offering, changing the presenting of learning and training from in-person, face to face environments to digital communication.

We are very proud of how effectively our team took on this challenge, and the commitment they showed to our partners and customers, adapting the way that we work in order to continue supporting you with no less success, no less impact, no reduction in the immediacy and impact of our offerings and communication.

Looking to our own future, this adaption to the ‘new normal’ has prepared us well for the world we expect to see beyond this pandemic; a world with more flexible working and learning, where teams are less likely to gather in formal learning environments and will instead embrace the opportunities to learn on a more flexible, wider reaching way.

The development and growth of your own leadership and management, investing in their learning, will no longer be limited by geographical locality, by the size of meeting rooms, by the limitations of space or scheduling. Instead, your learners can access the same commitment, potential and success from learning and development programmes which can be accessed by larger teams, working from any location, with in-the-moment communication and interaction with their peers, team and trainer.

I am incredibly proud of how well our team adapted, and of the continued support we offer to you. We look forward to taking these steps into the future by your side, continuing to support the growth and success of your organisation.

Call us today on 01234 757575 or email [email protected] to discuss what we can do to help your team to adapt, your leaders to embrace these skills, and your workforce to achieve their full potential in this new world. We can help; just ASK.

Avatar

Leave a Reply