Preparing For The Unforeseen: Leading In Volatile Times

Due to COVID-19 and the challenges it has thrust upon organizations and employees, building resilient leadership skills is of extreme significance.

We are living in an era of unpredictability and instability. People all around the world are facing unprecedented change such as economic stability, limited job prospects, and the need to upskill. The business paradigm is increasingly becoming transient, and now more than ever is important to lead employees towards effective organizational goals. Some leaders say we live in a 'VUCA' world, one which is rigged with Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. This term may have been first coined by the US military during the Cold War, but it has an uncanny resonance with the business environment we see today. 

Due to COVID-19 and the challenges it has thrust upon organizations and employees, building resilient leadership skills is of extreme significance. Leaders have to train themselves to flow through unchartered waters, all the while leading those affected by him. An effective leader is not only a strong subject-matter expert but also someone who is thoughtful and empathetic to their team. These softer skills are especially important during challenging times and constant change.  

Develop self-awareness: Socrates said, 'Know thyself' and that is especially true when one is a leader. A leader needs to know themselves before they can lead others. This helps in being grounded and keeping themselves as well as their employees calm. During a pandemic, it is important to adhere to ongoing routines and keep the workflow smooth and normal as possible. This helps in garnering confidence among employees and helps in effectively managing stress in the office. 

Communicate often and well: If we take the case of COVID-19, hundreds of employees are working from home today with all kinds of disruptions. The need to communicate authentically with employees, being honest and up to par with them, as well as being there for them when they need to hustle cannot be stressed enough. A good leader is always a great communicator. If a manager isn’t transparent then they lose credibility, and losing credibility at a time when it is needed most becomes cumbersome. 

Leverage the 'crisis team': Employees form the backbone of any organization, and thus it is important to safeguard their interests in case things go south. By assembling a crisis management team of various department heads and skilled company communicators, corporate leaders and managers will have a key leadership group in place that manages key functions. Since every crisis requires a strategy to help combat perilous times, a group of skilled problem-solvers will help direct the company into a better position, forming a huge asset towards organization crisis redressal. 

It is not about how accomplished a leader is, but rather how efficiently they steer employees in the right direction. Effective leadership includes a lot of courage, passion and commitment. COVID-19 has indeed changed our lives, the way we work, and live. In these times, leaders are being seen as the driving force of companies, and their leadership skills at a test to get the optimum solutions for their organizations. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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