The business world has taken such an unexpected turn. What you know as entrepreneurs have been shattered. The crisis we are facing now as we battle the coronavirus pandemic will lead to an entirely different state when all of this is over. What you do as a leader now will determine the fate of your team in the future.
A lot of leaders might not realize it, but they are actually not acting as leaders at the moment. Why? Because they are focusing on managing the current coronavirus crisis instead. The bad news is this behavior can worsen your company’s fate in the long run.
Are you leading or managing?
Every time your business faces a crisis, you have to lead and manage at the same time. It sounds difficult to strike a balance between these two responsibilities - and it is. One puts the other at risk of being overlooked.
Management means you need to address the company’s current needs. You need to find ways to allocate your resources and make choices to keep the company afloat. These are urgent decisions you need to make in order for the business to take steps in the right direction.
Meanwhile, leading means guiding people forward to prepare for what comes next. When you lead, it means looking at the bigger picture and anticipating the next challenges that might come your way. Most of the time, crises are over-managed instead of properly led.
What should leaders do at a time like this? Start by taking a broader view of the situation, so that you can see both obstacles and opportunities. This can help you manage your response better.
You should prepare your organization for what lies ahead. This means delegating management tasks to your team members as you focus on getting ready for changes that are about to come. Let your team members make the calls and give them support and guidance without being tempted to take over.
This also means you should resist the urge to do everything. Controlling the situation might put your company at greater risk, especially when you lose focus on what you should be preparing for. Let others manage the current challenges while you set your eyes beyond the crisis.
Don’t forget about your people - they are the ones most affected by the crisis. As the leader, you should be able to unite your team and pool their efforts together to come up with solutions for the present situation. Give them a mission that can translate their work into purpose. This way, they know exactly what to contribute, and let those contributions be recognized.
Leading through the crisis
As the news stays unpredictable, there will always be unanticipated twists almost every day. Leaders should always stay on top of the news daily in order to be informed about what steps to take. Doing this on a daily basis is important in helping you update both your data and your perspective.
Additionally, share this information with your team members. Never assume that since they have access to it, they’ll understand it in the same way you do. It’s best to deliver the news to them yourself, instead of counting on them to inform themselves individually. This way, you will all be on the same page, knowing what the facts are, and how to act on them.
Be ready for constant change. As things keep developing, you must also anticipate that the best option now might not be the best one down the line. Don’t be afraid to keep reframing your understanding of what’s happening. Part of your role as a leader is to learn to adapt in these situations, and now is the time to embrace that role.
As the coronavirus crisis continues, always take note of what you’ve learned so far. Reflect on your responses and their impacts on your organization. Look back on lessons learned and try to determine what needs to be changed in order to prepare for the future.
Lastly, get ready for the post-coronavirus world. Society and businesses will never be the same after this. After this crisis is over, consider what you’ve learned and what you can apply to your business practices. Include them in your future plans to ensure resiliency and growth. Take the lead and bring your business to greater heights as the new normal sets in.