Before March 16, corporate executives were keeping an eye on the coronavirus crisis and the volatility of the stock market, but it was mostly business as usual.
When the government began to issue stay-at-home orders and companies mandated virtual work, everyone had to shift their priorities. We had an inside view of the real-time challenges for leaders.
Of course, their primary concern was for the safety of their employees, colleagues, customers, and family at home. And they were working hard to minimize disruptions to their supply chains to preserve business continuity. But as leaders look to broader, longer-term concerns, here are the few most common leadership challenges:
Stay positive: Negativity, panic and fear only undermine the team and result in irrational actions.
Focus on facts and science: Understand the reality of the situation, including the disease and how it is transmitted.
Listen to the experts: The leader cannot know it all and needs to rely on other talented people.
Understand the culture: Engaging the Guineans to understand the cultural context was critically important as is true in any crisis situation.
Be inclusive and collaborative: Engage others to facilitate an effective response.
Transparency: Now is not the time to hide out and hope that people will move on without bothering you. In the words of one successful leader, "leadership reputations are made or lost during times of crises," and it's important to remember that being a leader is both a privilege and a responsibility you chose.
Adaptive Communicate: Adaptive communication means that whether you are sharing messages to a broad audience or connecting one-on-one with team members, you are self-aware enough to reflect the everchanging reality, not holding onto fixed opinions and demands.
Support your team: Remember tha everyone needs encouragement during such a stressful experience.
The coronavirus pandemic appears to be just starting, so we will undoubtedly have to endure more change in weeks to come. But beyond addressing issues of safety and business continuity, corporate leaders can benefit from reflecting on these five broader challenges. Doing so now will help them ensure sustained motivation for their teams and themselves into the future.