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How to be a great leader in this unprecedented ‘NEW NORMAL’?

Black swan event? Inflation? Debt? Economic slowdown? Depression? Societal harm? Environmental harm? AND A LOT MORE …

The outbreak of Coronavirus has made 2020 hard for everyone in multiple ways across the globe. However, on the flip side, the breakdown that followed has also been treated by many as a breakthrough opportunity to rethink, reinvent, and revisit the way their business and employees function.

Undeniably, in the beginning, because no leader knew a midway or the right way to react, layoffs, salary cuts, pink slips and furlough leaves were used as the way out. But slowly, it became clear that past learnings and best practices are barely implementable in the ongoing situation and what everyone in the company needed is a fresh new perspective- a reboot! 

The very first step and also a challenge in the process has been the transition from the workplace to the (virtual) workspace. The work-life balance, staying organised and handling the work and life responsibilities all were skewed in a jiffy because of the change in work model. This was the time when every online payroll software and HR software saw a rise in their demand- they were needed more than ever before! 

But, while technology can support your endeavours and automate them, they thought has to come from us- The leaders! Almost after a month or so, HR leaders and business owners realised that we have to learn living with the virus until the time vaccine is not available to everyone. This realisation stirred the debate around finding the right balance, thinking of not just company but all the employees’ well being as well. Owners started understanding how together we stand and divided we can fall.  Thus redefining goals and being more humane became a key decision-making force. 

Although most of the leaders started the necessary rework, many still failed to realise how important being resilient is. For unfortunate situation can strike your business country or the world anytime without a hint. In other words, a ‘New Reality’ is emerging and so leaders must be prepared.

Let’s look as some of the new traits that as a leader you must possess now-

Time to replan:

 It is a great time to explore the uncharted waters, especially for the businesses who have seen a slump or complete shutdown of their business. Many companies have extended their area of offerings. For instance- Food delivering apps also started delivering groceries. Identify how talents can be used or reskilled and made fit for a new role, be willing to take risks and embrace diversity. If the business model needs changes, do it! Question everything. 

Communicate more:

 Currently, the world is run by technology. When it comes to your business it is about online payroll software to process salaries and performance management software to gauge performance. However, staying in touch and talking to the team frequently over a conference video call can work wonders. It will instil the dooming motivation and passion to work and innovate in them. 

Be available and okay with uncertainty:

It is important to make your employees feel that you are available for them and that they can discuss their problems. Empathy is a total necessitate. Ask them how they are managing their WFH? What are the challenges? Think of ways to help employees, organise fun interactive sessions, work-related brainstorming session and learn to value each and every big or small job role. Know their fears, have an open dialogue, encourage suggestions and feedback and adopt best practices for taking care of employees’ well being, especially, emotional and mental. The time is unpredicatable and hence staying ready to face it together and making the team really believe in you and that they won’t be laid off suddenly is paramount. This will give them peace of mind and make them more focused towards their work and loyal towards the company. 

The aim should be to optimise the creativity, positivity in the employees so that the business and employees both can progress together! 

If we all visualise how the new transformed leader in you should be like then this is how it should be-

A leader who is thoughtful, brave but vulnerable too, someone who is pragmatic but unconventional too, someone who is aware of the market forces but still conscious of the choices he makes and its impact on everyone around and with him. 

Being an empath and a little vulnerable were never seen as the traits of a great leader before. But, now the one who doesn’t blame, looks for solutions, and share companies’ concerns, listens to employees’ concerns, seeks and offers help would be a better leader. Sometimes, they might not find solutions and still be ok with it, they will work on forging real bonds and forge trust and transparency through communication instead of giving a shock. 


What do you think? 

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