It feels like we are nearing the end of this pandemic, especially with the increasing application of vaccines around the country. The excitement about finally getting “back to normal” is at an all-time high. Once we are there, what should we expect? Can things go back to how they used to be?
In terms of business, several CEOs have had to modify their leadership strategies to survive and positively impact their organizations during this crisis. Leaders are continuously swivelling and swerving their approach and creating policies to cope with uncertainty as best as they can. Will these strategies still be relevant post COVID though? it’s hard to tell, but one thing we do know is that the pandemic has revealed several leadership practices that should have been overhauled a long time ago.
At first, during COVID, leaders had to become more flexible. Most of them were forced to abandon old beliefs for new approaches. To survive, they needed to come up with innovative ideas and take several risks. The pandemic allowed everyone the opportunity to do things differently to keep growing and leaders took chances that they normally wouldn’t under normal circumstances. True leaders were agile!
With the rapidly escalating burnout and stress levels employees are experiencing while working from home, leaders also realized the importance of bringing authentic empathy into the workplace. This meant moving outside of their own needs, eliminating biases and privileges, actively listening to people´s needs and feelings, and then taking action. According to Google LLC´s Chief Innovation Evangelist Frederik G. Pferdt: “Empathy is the skill of the future, and practicing it every day will grow an innovation mindset in an organization as it helps business leaders come up with better solutions.”
Business leaders realized that it required much effort to optimize the distributed work model and make it sustainable. They had to analyze and enhance their business model and think about small details to improve employee satisfaction, engagement, morale, and mental health. For instance, 70% of hiring managers today reported that reducing the number of non-essential meetings worked out better for their companies than they ever anticipated (as reported by Upwork). On the other hand, an EMarketer survey showed that only 51% of respondents agreed that their organization provides clear guidelines and expectations for how an organization will work going ahead. Now more than ever, employees are looking for explicit updates and streamlined information-sharing.
The pandemic has truly redefined the way leaders think and strategize, employees are now at the center of all leadreship policies, which wasn’t the case prepandemic. This has resulted in positive, employee-centric strategies that will ensure enhanced efficiency and morale in the short, medium, and long term.