The Most Important Leadership Traits During COVID-19
We can all agree that leadership positions are stressful during normal times. However, leaders have been challenged like never before during these unprecedented times. Not only have many leaders had to rethink how their organizations work as most employees are working remotely, but many have had to pivot to develop new revenue streams as a result of the economic downturn. In this article we will discuss some of the most important leadership traits during the COVID-19 pandemic and their impacts on organizations.
As many employees have been given the additional role of caring for children or aging parents while working from home, leaders have had to learn empathy. Team members may be approaching leaders to discuss sensitive topics relating to the current situation, and leaders have had to be empathetic and listen to their concerns. This also means re-evaluating the company’s time off, sick leave, and working from home policies to accommodate employees who are dealing with these unprecedented circumstances. Some leaders may have found that they are not naturally empathetic and have felt challenged this year. If you are not a naturally empathetic leader, fear not! You can also lean on other managers in the organization and encourage employees to seek out this person regarding these topics. This is also a great time to hone your EQ!
During these trying times, many employees may feel insecure about the future of their jobs or the organization as a whole. Generally, humans are uncomfortable during times of uncertainty, which can breed anxiety and stress. This can be very dangerous in an organization and can damage company culture in the long-run as employees naturally start to fill in the blanks when information is lacking. Transparency and honesty during this time are extremely important to maintain employee trust and keep rumors at bay. This will also ensure that your employees feel valued once they return to work, thus strengthening their commitment to the organization.
Many leaders may be feeling overwhelmed right now, especially as they are having to manage situations that they have never experienced before. Understanding that one person cannot know everything and learning how to ask for help is important to manage stress and to ensure that the company will continue thriving beyond the pandemic. This is a great time to seek the assistance of your managers and team leads and encourage them to take on more responsibility and have them ask for help if they need it as well. If you are struggling, look for a trusted advisor or a professional coach to help you out. There’s no shame in asking for help!
Now is a great time to learn how to set boundaries and model the behaviors that you as a leader want to see within your team. Depending on your organization, this could mean modeling self-care and encouraging employees to ask for help if they are feeling stressed. This also means setting boundaries regarding your working hours, including sending out emails in the middle of the night or early in the morning. Not only will this ensure your mental health, but it will signal to employees that you do not expect them to work beyond the normal working hours, despite working from home.
What are some of the behaviors that you have had to learn during the pandemic? How have your leadership skills been tested? Let us know in the comments, we would love to hear from you!