Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Leaders

The COVID 19 pandemic was a wake-up call for leaders. Here are some key lessons from the COVID 19 pandemic that you need to take note of.

Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic for Leaders
Leadership Lessons from the Pandemic

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Business leaders have learnt many lessons from the COVID 19  pandemic. Yes, it caught most of them unawares (and who can blame them – no B-school or workshop can prepare anyone for this scenario), but most leaders still recovered fast enough from the shock to not only guide their companies through this tumultuous time.

The last time a disease wreaked havoc to this extent was a century ago (the Spanish Influenza). However, the resilient nature of humans is probably the biggest takeaway from all of this, and it shows that we can survive almost anything. Having said that, the changes wrought by COVID-19 – especially in terms of well-being and work culture – are here to stay. Let’s take a look at some invaluable lessons from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Lessons from COVID 19 pandemic for leaders

Pandemic lesson 1: Change is good – so prepare in advance

If there's one lesson the pandemic has taught us, it is that change is inevitable. And the sooner we embrace this fact, the better. Leaders must understand that they are part of a system that is continuously evolving and develop processes that can withstand these evolutionary changes in technology and the workforce.

Perpetual learning and adapting to the environment will keep you ahead of the curve. Find ways to keep your organisation relevant and thriving in the future, rather than act after things have taken their course. An important lesson from the pandemic indeed!

Also read: How to Build a Positive Workplace Culture

Pandemic lesson 2: Trust and growth are linked

Companies spend a lot of time and money on team exercises (especially in trust-building). This became even more important in the remote work context. Companies and managers had no option but to trust their colleagues to understand the importance of efficiency and deadlines. And, on the whole, employees have acquitted themselves splendidly!

Whether employees work in-office or remotely, a key lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that they must trust their people to get the work done. Organisations that have done so have reaped the benefits.

Trust Employees
Trust Employees

Pandemic lesson 3: Empathise with your team members

WFH is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are juggling multiple responsibilities, work/life balance has gone for a toss, and that is taking its toll. Leaders have to come in at this hour of crisis and show their employees that they care about them and their physical and mental health.

A study by Blind, an anonymous professional network, tried to ascertain the impact of social distancing on people’s well-being in terms of loneliness, anxiety and productivity levels. Of the 10,107 participants, 52.9% of users answered affirmatively to increased loneliness during work from home while 56.4% of users reported experiencing increased feelings of anxiety.

Also read: How to Improve Team Morale and Bonding in the Hybrid Workplace

Talk to your team, understand their concerns and see if you can help in any way possible. People are your biggest resource, so nurture them, keep them motivated and focused on the goal. This is probably one of the most important lessons from COVID 19 pandemic.

Pandemic lesson 4: Communication and delegation

Leaders usually have a lot on their plates. But an important lesson the pandemic has taught leaders is that they cannot let day-to-day crises impact their communication or connection with their team. No matter how busy you get, it is critical to check in with your team and keep them in the loop.

You can delegate certain tasks that will help you manage the crisis more effectively. Effective communication with your team and the stakeholders keeps the organisation running like a well-oiled machine.

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Pandemic lesson 5: Remain calm

When another COVID 19 wave is on the move, your stress or anxiety is bound to rub off on your team. You must not transfer your stress or frustration during work interactions. Just like you try to be empathetic with your team, focus some of that empathy inwards and find a way to release the built-up tension. Take the help of a professional, if need be.

You can’t afford to panic when everyone’s looking up to you for guidance. Consider this the most important lesson from the pandemic.

Consult and cooperate
Consult and cooperate

Pandemic lesson 6: Consult and cooperate

The pandemic has taught us a lesson in working together. As Jim George said: No man is an island. In times of crisis, you might not have all the answers. Reach out to your team, contemporaries and seniors, and you might chance upon a creative solution.

Co-operating with your team and sharing responsibility will take some pressure off of you. This helps you take a more holistic approach towards managing the company and helps it grow.

Pandemic lesson 7: Perseverance and confidence

Being at the head of a company means that you embody the values a company stands for. And a crisis is the right time to live values like perseverance and confidence. COVID-19 was an unprecedented crisis, but leaders like Mr Ratan Tata showed us how to navigate this crisis while making sure no one loses their jobs.

As we said earlier, people are looking up to you and will get inspired by your qualities and attitude. Keep this COVID 19 lesson in mind to keep growing in tough times.

Pandemic lesson 8: Innovation and flexibility

The pandemic has forced companies around the world to innovate and change the way they do business. The key is to encourage innovation at all levels, and not get caught up in process implementation. Be flexible and embrace the uncertainty while learning lessons from COVID 19 pandemic turmoil.

The modern business environment calls for leaders who are goal-oriented and can steer the company through an unpredictable environment. These innovative and flexible practices don’t just apply to business solutions; they should be directed towards employee well-being as well.

Look out for employees
Look out for employees

Pandemic lesson 9: Celebrate the small wins

A key lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic is that we can’t take anything for granted anymore. Remember that for a while, even minor things like grabbing a coffee from your favourite coffee shop became impossible. Appreciate even the small accomplishments of your team and celebrate with them to keep them motivated. While this is important in times of crisis, it should become a practice in the future as well.

Lessons from the COVID19 pandemic

COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill, but the crisis has been an opportunity for organisations to learn and implement changes that were pending for a while. The aftershocks will be felt in times to come, but leaders should focus on the silver lining – the positive effects on work culture and process adjustments that can already be seen across the board.

Also read: 10 Fun Employee Engagement Activities and Ideas: 2022 Edition

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