The last few months have put a huge amount of pressure on leaders. Every part of our lives has been impacted in every corner of the world. Facing constant uncertainty and change, leaders have to be on their A-Game to lead their teams and organisations through these challenging times. I have seen a shift to and focus on certain leadership skills that are absolutely necessary during and post COVID.
I am working with clients all over the world and our coaching and leadership programs are predominantly focussed on helping them to adopt these skills. I am just finishing off a program called ‘Leading Remote Teams in a Blended World’ with a leadership team of a global airline. The key skills are around building resilience and being agile, influencing from a non-positional leadership point, tough conversation and radical candour, communicating with empathy and using EQ as your superpower and leading through change. The goal is to equip these regional leaders to lead their own remote teams, keep them motivated and navigate them through immense change.
Post COVID Leadership Skills are not entirely different to the essential skills every leader should be equipped with (12 crucial skills: communicating, conflict management, influencing and negotiation, presentation skills, empathy and diplomacy, teamwork, coaching and developing others, multi-generational and cross-cultural leadership, leading change, planning and decision making, leadership presence and customer focus), but they are hyper-focussed on some essential skills in order to lead through change and hardship. It’s like flexing your human leadership muscle.
While the COVID-19 crisis is indeed unlike any other, “there’s no need to start from scratch in trying to confront it,” says Dr. Jim Harter, chief scientist for Gallup’s workplace management practice.
Elements of effective leadership amid crisis
The advisory firm recently examined how people have responded to life-changing events in the past, from the Great Depression to World War II, from the 9/11 attacks to the 2008 financial crisis.
The findings show humans look for four elements in their leaders to survive adversity: trust, compassion, stability and hope.
“If leaders have a clear way forward, human beings are amazingly resilient,” Dr. Harter says. People turn to their leaders to “provide confidence that there is a way forward that they can contribute to.”
I see 9 main Post COVID Leadership Skills lead in a VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) world
- Technical competency
Technical skills and competency will merge with leadership. There will be no excuse for not using visual online tools, sharing platforms and communication apps. In a remote world leaders are expected to lead the technological capabilities
Building resilience, creating flexibility and ability to lead planned and unexpected change; sit in discomfort but action anyway and lead change vs. manage change
- Courageous Decision Making
Making fast decision with the information we have, being confident with our decision making and being flexible to adapt as needed
Honest communication with no ambiguity; transparency and challenge directly
- Inspire Trust
Consistent, transparent and authentic communication and actions/behaviour; build trust first for radical candour; be accessible and present
- Empathy, Compassion and Humanity
We all face the same storm but we are not all in the same boat; understand, listen and support individuals. Human to human
- Coaching skills
Active listening, being present and asking open questions; be more coach like to empower your people and let them take accountability
- Ethical leadership
Still and demonstrate values and morale
- Leading hybrid and remote teams
Out of the office but not out of work, engage people effectively who work in a hybrid format
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