Senior leaders and managers are being pushed to their limits, and in this crisis, we’ve seen resiliency, dedication, and creativity. Agile organizations are redefining themselves and rising to the challenge daily. Being a leader is tough. Being a leader during Covid-19 is a phenomenal undertaking.
There are common mistakes we’ve seen from leaders during this crisis. Do any of these leadership blunders seem familiar?
When you can’t learn from the best, learn from others’ mistakes.
1. Added work. Going virtual hasn’t been that rosy work-life balance scenario. It’s changed dynamics and, in doing so, added to the daily stress of work as collaborators are getting used to new platforms, creating new ways to reach end consumers, resolving problems (loads of problems), then getting called to eternal meetings to discuss pre-Covid-19 issues. We’re not saying everything needs to stop for Covid-19, but if, as a leader, you’re taking unnecessary time – time that your collaborators really need to adjust to the changes – to “meet” and “go over numbers” and “discuss stuff” without real direction that fails to address the current situation, stop right now. What is mission critical? Figure that out and get out of the way. Let employees do their jobs. You can talk about reports later.
2. Lack of communication. Right now, it probably feels like everyone is yelling at you – from all sides and angles. Creating a strategic communication strategy to address changes, concerns, and the financial health of the organization is critical. Your collaborators need to know what’s going on – not be reassured that nothing is going on. Organization-wide uncertainty has a considerable impact on productivity. Even when the truth is dark and hard, there’s integrity in truth and with that comes the opportunity to motivate others to collaborate.
3. Bad leadership is worse than “no” leadership. Organizations are tempted to hold onto those underperforming managers. Are they added baggage? Do they bring innovation to the table? Are they in the way? It’s not the time to keep employees that aren’t performing well or having a negative influence on their teams and the organization.
4. Micromanaging. Fear is a great way to bring out the worst in people. When there’s an international crisis, with hundreds of thousands (millions) of people losing their jobs, managers might slip into that space where they need to have a finger on everything, a handle on everything, to keep themselves relevant. By wielding their manager title, they’re doing the opposite. They alienate, and exhaust, their collaborators. Great leadership is the capacity to see what is and what can be, and find creative, collaborative ways to work with your team without smothering them.
It’s possible you, your senior leaders, your manager, or peers are making these mistakes and, in doing so, driving down engagement and driving away top performers.
This pandemic has changed the face of business, and it will be different for a long time. Coming through, agile organizations need to be able to sift through the muck, recognize what has changed, what hasn’t, and differentiate between what is real and what is perceived.
Lead through this change.