The greatest comebacks are and always will be from those leaders who not only inspire but also go beyond the call of duty. Today we will look at some of the key attributes that leaders need to adopt to lead their teams into a successful post-covid 19 season.
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
If anyone had to ask me what the most important skill would be to succeed after the COVID 19 lockdown, especially in the face of looming collapse of the SME sector, I would say Leadership above all else.
Well throughout history it cannot be denied that leadership has been the cornerstone for all breakthroughs and comebacks.
There is a reason its called LEADership. Someone has to take the lead.
This is critical because, coming out of a pandemic like this, there are going to be flocks of people just looking for someone who would be able to guide them in their confusion.
So what is it going to take in an organisation, big or small, in order to give these people what they need?
Here are seven of the direst attributes that I believe leaders are going to have to display going into the next season to see their people equipped for success.
Engage your emotions
The hardest thing that people are going to have to face when they get out of the lockdown is the uncertainty of whether they are still going to have a job, and if so how long that job will still be around in light of the economic struggles that are looming.
This means that any leader is going to have to take a step back from the ra-ra that they want to dive headfirst into and start my thinking about the people that they are leading.
The key here is to connect. Any leader is going to have to make themselves vulnerable to being impacted emotionally by the situations that people are facing at home and financially.
Why should you put yourself in this kind of position? Well because it will give you a real sense of the impact your decisions are going to have in real people’s lives.
Here’s the thing, deciding to let someone go should be the most painful and uncomfortable thing that you need to do. Because it’s going to force you to take every factor into consideration and not act devoid of emotion or care for their well being. But the fact of the matter is that some people just won’t be able to stay on the team.
If anything else, use and MEAN these words “We will help you however we can to successfully find a new job.” Then follow through.
People, now more than ever, are going to need to know that they are loved no matter the situation.
Put your mask on first
Even though compassion is going to be necessary, there is no point in getting overly heartbroken about people’s positions’ that you endanger your own well being.
Here’s the thing, you can’t help anyone else if you can’t help yourself first.
Yes, this might sound a little or A LOT selfish, but the truth of the matter is that if you aren’t able to keep your doors open then there will be a whole lot more people in trouble than those you decided to let go initially.
Be smart about it.
If you are able to successfully navigate the maze of retrenchment and begin growing your business again you could always find yourself back in a position where you could re-hire some of the assets you once had on the team.
But please, only re-hire the assets, not the liabilities.
Clear your vision
With everything going on, you might find yourself distracted by the negativity and pessimism that is floating around. What about the economy, this happened to them it’s going to happen to us, the government is causing more problems, etc.
Stop it in its tracks.
Most of the time these are going to be worries of people who are in it for the drama and so they propagate it through family and friends to the point where you end up being the one who has to deal with it.
You need to clear your vision and start looking for the good, clean, pure, positive and powerful in the situation that you find yourself.
John Maxwell says that “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” You cannot be that leader if you are allowing other people to throw distractions into your vision.
Clear your vision so that you can start making the decisions that are going to make your team a winning team.
Illuminate their path
Ok, so this one takes on a two-pronged approach to succeed.
Firstly, you need light.
This is your optimism, your drive, your goals and dreams for the team. Sure they may have known it before the lockdown, but they need to know the face of uncertainty, that you are still certain about your vision. This is your light.
Second, you need to shine it.
There is no use having your positivity and vision for the future if you aren’t willing to share it with others.
As much as you know what your next step is, illuminating your plans for the rest of the team is the quickest most effective way to ensure that they are willing to stand behind you and help you however they can.
Transparency is going to be your best friend when it comes to rallying your team for victory.
Make the first move
Someone once said, “When all is said and done, make sure you don’t leave more said than done.”
So now that you have talked the talk, be sure that you are willing to walk the walk.
Nothing says “follow me” like someone who is already on the move.
If you have ever wanted to be more of a doer than a thinker, then now is the time. People are looking for someone that they can follow and learn from, and people tend to learn better from what they see modeled for them than from a great speech.
Be sure to back up everything you say with action.
Whereas shining your light is good for momentum, nothing stops momentum quite like the lack of movement when there are a million miles to go.
So here is what you are going to have to do. Keep a note of every promise you make. Jot it down the moment it leaves your mouth. Even if you can’t keep it, just jot it down.
Then you want to revisit that list every night. Think about how you can move closer to that promise so that people can see that you mean what you say and that you are listening to their concerns.
This brings us to attribute six…
Humility above all else
Yes, there are going to be major failures on the way. Don’t be paralyzed by it.
The fastest way to ensure your demise is to get caught up in all the failures that you are going to have to face on the journey.
You’ve made it this far, you can make it till the end.
What it’s going to take is one bucket load of humility after another.
When you mess up, have made a promise you can’t keep, called a shot that has turned out to be the worst possible options you could have picked, the only thingy you have in your arsenal that will be able to save you is humility.
Admit you were wrong, give clarity as to your mistake so that people know you are genuinely sorry and not just blowing hot air, and then move along.
People find it far easier to forgive bad decisions if the person who made them owns up to it before someone has to point it out, so be on point with your humility, don’t wait it out.
Don’t go alone
John Maxwell says “People who say that they are leading but have nobody following are merely taking a walk.”
How true it is that the top doesn’t have to be lonely. As a matter of fact, if the top is lonely then you didn’t get there the right way.
Leadership is all about finding the people who want to go on a journey with you, finding their strengths, helping them achieve more than they thought they could and then everyone reaping the rewards.
Your journey as a leader is going to be defined by the people that succeed you. If you look at the apprentice you can get a good feeling for who the leader was that taught them.
This becomes your legacy.
Looking beyond the COVID 19 Lockdown, leaders are going to be in high demand. These attributes, if focused on now, will help you to navigate the terrain you will face, no matter how rocky it might be.