The COVID-19 crisis has put an unprecedented amount of pressure on business owners and decision-makers across the globe. As an executive leader, there has always been pressure to make tough decisions, provide answers to all of the questions your stakeholders have, and to have a long-term strategy for success. However, this pandemic has impaired the ability for hundreds of thousands of decision-makers to be able to have concrete answers on what’s next.
And that’s okay.
It’s easy to feel like you’ve failed as a leader when you need to admit that you don’t have all the answers — especially in times of crisis. It’s this crossroad, however, that weeds out true leaders from those who are only interested in the glamor that comes with the title.
Successful leaders don’t get remembered for ignoring the tragedies that accompany the hard times. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. They acknowledged the fear, grief, sadness, and pain, not only those around them felt, but how those emotions had played into their personal lives as well.
The key to their success is that they didn’t let the emotions swallow them up and prevent them from springing into action. Instead, they take the time to grapple with those emotions, privately and publicly provide resources on how to deal with them before flipping those emotions to be the fuel that drives positive change. As a true leader, you’re now the model of how to handle these feelings healthily and can guide your team to the next step in rebuilding.
As you move into the strategy of what’s next, it’s imperative that you’re honest with your team that this will be a time of experimentation and learning. There is nothing in modern history that parallels what we’re currently facing to draw insights for solutions. As the world around us evolves on a minute-to-minute basis, it’s up to you to embody the adaptability and agility required to pivot with the business as you progress.
Assign distinct roles and responsibilities to drive change that is powered by accountability and as a way to strengthen the unity across your team. Even if times are so tight that there aren’t the “normal” tasks your team once performed, you can assign them the responsibility of being there for one another. Not only does this give your team a sense of purpose during bleak times, but it also brings you together as a community.
No matter how your company has been affected by this crisis, your job as a business owner or decision-maker is to show your customers, employees, and the rest of the world, that you survived the fires of COVID-19 and emerged a stronger leader.