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Leadership during the coronavirus

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Apr 29, 2020

In April 2020, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) released a series of articles on how to lead during this pandemic.

Review these articles:

How to be an inclusive leader through a crisis?

Leaders are under extraordinary pressure right now. They are expected to make decisions quickly with incomplete and rapidly evolving information. And unfortunately, being in crisis mode can cause even the most intentional and well-meaning leaders to fall into patterns of bias and exclusion. Research shows that when we’re stressed, we often default to heuristics and gut instincts, rather than making deliberate and goal-oriented decisions. And yet, leaders must prioritize inclusion right now, more than ever.

 

Build your team’s resilience — From home

To make it through the current crisis and return to a new normal, you and your team will need to be resilient. The good news is that leaders can help create the conditions that make this possible. We’ve done multiple studies with U.S. Navy recruits that show how this can best be done—and, recently, in studying how leaders are responding to the crisis, we’ve come across valuable stories of how they can achieve this even when team members are working remotely.

 

What good leadership looks like during this pandemic?

The speed and scope of the coronavirus crisis poses extraordinary challenges for leaders in today’s vital institutions. It is easy to understand why so many have missed opportunities for decisive action and honest communication. But it is a mistake to think that failures of leadership are all we can expect in these grim times.

 

The agile C-Suite

Building an agile enterprise does not mean replacing traditional operations with agile teams everywhere. Agile is primarily for innovation, and the testing and learning it involves can compromise critical operating processes. Building an agile enterprise means finding the right balance between standardizing operations and pursuing (sometimes risky) innovations.

 

Begin with trust

Trust is also one of the most essential forms of capital a leader has. Building trust, however, often requires thinking about leadership from a new perspective. The traditional leadership narrative is all about you: your vision and strategy; your ability to make the tough calls and rally the troops; your talents, your charisma, your heroic moments of courage and instinct. But leadership really isn’t about you. It’s about empowering other people as a result of your presence, and about making sure that the impact of your leadership continues into your absence.

 

The case for a Chief of Staff (CoS)

Most new CEOs pay little attention to a key factor that will help determine their effectiveness: the administrative system that guides day-to-day operations in their offices. This system ensures that leaders make the most of their limited time, that information arrives at the right point in their decision-making process, and that follow-up happens without their having to check. Many new CEOs default to the system they’ve inherited, even if it is poorly suited to their style or to the operational changes they must make. Often there’s a better way to handle the information flow necessary for a CEO to succeed—and very often a chief of staff (CoS) can play an essential role.

 

Keep your people learning when you go virtual

The COVID-19 pandemic is bound to leave behind lasting changes in the way work and business take place. Learning will be the foundation of our survival, then, for both organizations and the individuals who make them up. As the world shifts to online work and businesses struggle to reinvent themselves, organizations need to learn what kinds of new products and services will appeal to their consumers and learn how to create them. Leaders must learn how to keep a distributed workforce focused, energized, and attuned to customers’ changing needs. Whether you are a CEO, senior manager, or junior professional, if you neglect learning, you stop adapting and forego leading.

 

 

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