21ST CENTURY JOB SKILLS BLOG


6 Traits of Resilient Leaders, Post-COVID19


Dec 14, 2020






6 Traits of Resilient Leaders, Post-COVID19

 

Are you ready to get back to normal? 

 

One thing COVID has taught us -- in order to preserve jobs and keep businesses moving forward, our business structures can be much more flexible than we ever imagined -- sneaky cat flexible.

Photo by Michel Porro on Unsplash

 

Remote workers? Flexible hours? Fewer meetings? Pre-COVID-19, we may not have been able to imagine how that would work. Now, we can!

 

In almost no time at all, you made crucial decisions that kept your business afloat so it was still here when it was time to reopen:

 

  • You determined what was essential and what wasn’t.
  • You found solutions to take your teams remote with lightning speed.
  • You found solutions that kept finances afloat and people paid, even when it meant strategic layoffs or taking out loans.
  • You tolerated delays and dealt with every day’s challenges in new and creative ways.

 

You deserve a medal. You took care of your people. And that’s what you’ll need to keep doing, because we’re not going back to normal, at least not for a while. As things open up, you’ll face new challenges.

 

Resilient Leaders have Gotten Us This Far...

 

Resilience is the ability of something to bounce back into it’s original shape after a challenge. For people, it’s the ability to regroup and move forward after a challenge. As a leader, you not only need to be resilient for your own sake, but for the workers who look to you. The challenge isn’t over yet, it’s just going into a new stage.

 

There are qualities you’re going to need to rely on in order to make the transitions good for you, for your workers, and for your business as things open up. Here are just a few:

 

1. Resilient Leaders Need to be Adaptable

 

Workers are coming back with a ridiculous number of special cases. A one-size-fits-all solution isn’t going to work:

 

  • They could be at risk or related to those who are at risk.
  • They could be grieving the loss of loved ones.
  • Child care/school situations may be challenging.
  • Isolation may have been challenging to their mental health and coping skills.

 

On top of that, you’re dealing with a lot of other issues:

 

  • Government regulations could limit how fully you can open up.
  • Your budget could be tight, or at least look very different than pre-COVID-19.
  • Business priorities may have changed: projects sidelined, others prioritized.
  • No one knows if there will be a second wave causing other shutdowns this year.

 

The one thing we know is that any situation can change in a minute and you need to be prepared for that to happen, but keeping all of those priorities in line is going to be a challenge.

 

2. Resilient Leaders Need Empathy Like Never Before

 

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

– Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

 

Don’t be alarmed. The whole “walking around in someone else’s skin” thing is a metaphor. No serial killers here...Nope.

 

 

Right now, your workers are going to need you to understand the difficulties in their lives. This is harder when you haven’t been seeing them every day. They’re dealing with things you don’t know about and it’s easy to narrow down other people’s worlds into what’s right in front of you. Your staff is more likely to give all they have for you if they know you’re trying to understand.

 

Listen and ask questions. Let what you learn inform your decisions. Lead with your head and your heart together, wherever possible.

 

3. Resilient Leaders Need to Be Solid Communicators

 

In times of high stress, your workers need transparency. They’ve dealt with layoffs and confinement. They’re concerned about the economy and worried about their jobs, not to mention their families. Things don’t feel safe, and if they’re working remotely, they might feel out of touch. Things you would classify as “need to know,” they will need to know:

 

Share whatever you can. Share budget information, business strategies and direction, project information, etc. Knowledge is power.

 

Two ears, one mouth...

 

My mom used to say we were given two ears and one mouth so that we listen twice as much as we talk. Keep listening -- get feedback. You’ve hired great people, so trust their insights.

 

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

 

4. Resilient Leaders Need to be Creative Problem-Solvers

 

One-size-fits-all solutions won’t work right now. Every single one of your workers has different experiences of the shutdown. Some struggled in the isolation. Some got sick or had loved ones get sick. On the other hand, some found that the slower pace agreed with them and their families.

 

You’ve invested a lot in your workers over the years so you’ll want to take reasonable efforts to make the current situation work for all involved -- team members, your organization, and you. This can mean treading on new ground:

 

  • Some companies like Twitter found that remote work wasn’t nearly as chaotic as they thought it would be and they’ve implemented new policies that are more open to remote work. Would that work for your organization?

 

  • Some workers would like to continue to have their kids at home, especially with how restrictive classrooms will be next year. Is there a way to help them?

 

  • How do you keep things afloat while working with the limitations your clients or customers are encountering? How do you continue to meet their needs while keeping your doors open?

 

5. Resilient Leaders Need to Pace Themselves

 

So far, we’ve talked about your workers’ needs and your customer or client needs, but not yours. You can’t do everything -- and certainly not at once -- but it can seem like everything and everyone is demanding your time. So what do you do?

 

Take a lesson from Starbucks

 

And I don’t mean “spell everyone’s name creatively.”

 

Starbucks is famous for taking a notoriously unreliable workforce sector and teaching them soft skills that will not only help them do their jobs, but to succeed in life. One thing you’ll notice -- Starbucks employees only worry about the person or situation right in front of them.

This is true whether the line is going out the door or whether there’s one person in the store.

When each worker finishes their part of the job, they move on to the next customer. The customers get served as efficiently as any other method but the workers are less stressed.

 

The lesson: don’t try to solve everything at once. Focus on the situation in front of you and then move on to the next one.

 

Take care of you

 

As noble as that sounds, that approach doesn’t help anyone. The better approach is the one that the airlines put forward: “Secure your own air mask before assisting anyone else.” 

 

When people are tired or burned out, even in the midst of a crisis, pushing through isn’t the answer. People make poor decisions when they’re tired and they make big mistakes. Dr. Mallard and Jimmy would’ve been able to serve those families better with a few hours sleep.

 

During any crisis, prioritize taking care of yourself. It feels selfish, but it’s as good for those who need you as it is for you:

 

  • Get exercise
  • Eat nutritiously
  • Get enough sleep
  • Find time for something you enjoy
  • And breathe!

 

You’ll be better prepared to face the challenges and maybe even enjoy them. You’re not going to be able to play the long game if you’re frazzled and burned out.

 

6. Resilient Leaders Need Grit

 

We often put resilience and grit together. They do feed into each other. Grit is the courage to resolve to push through. While COVID-19 started out as a short-term crisis, it’s turned into a long-term ordeal.

 

And that’s why your resiliency skills feed into your determination to push through -- your grit.

 

We still have ways to go yet, and various challenges are going to come up. In order to roll with those challenges, as a resilient leader, you’ll need to adapt, empathize, listen, get creative, and pace yourself.

 

You’ve gotten this far, successfully. If you need some additional insight and strategies for strengthening these skills, continue reading our blog or consider our affordable, time-efficient, and resource-packed soft skills courses:

 

Strengthening Your Resilience and Grit

Discover How to Communicate in the 21st Century

Develop Your Creativity and Stand Out in the 21st Century

Learn How to Develop Your Cognitive Flexibility and Adaptability

6 Traits of Resilient Leaders, Post-COVID19

 

Are you ready to get back to normal? 

 

One thing COVID has taught us -- in order to preserve jobs and keep businesses moving forward, our business structures can be much more flexible than we ever imagined -- sneaky cat flexible.

Photo by Michel Porro on Unsplash

 

Remote workers? Flexible hours? Fewer meetings? Pre-COVID-19, we may not have been able to imagine how that would work. Now, we can!

 

In almost no time at all, you made crucial decisions that kept your business afloat so it was still here when it was time to reopen:

 

  • You determined what was essential and what wasn’t.
  • You found solutions to take your teams remote with lightning speed.
  • You found solutions that kept finances afloat and people paid, even when it meant strategic layoffs or taking out loans.
  • You tolerated delays and dealt with every day’s challenges in new and creative ways.

 

You deserve a medal. You took care of your people. And that’s what you’ll need to keep doing, because we’re not going back to normal, at least not for a while. As things open up, you’ll face new challenges.

 

Resilient Leaders have Gotten Us This Far...

 

Resilience is the ability of something to bounce back into it’s original shape after a challenge. For people, it’s the ability to regroup and move forward after a challenge. As a leader, you not only need to be resilient for your own sake, but for the workers who look to you. The challenge isn’t over yet, it’s just going into a new stage.

 

There are qualities you’re going to need to rely on in order to make the transitions good for you, for your workers, and for your business as things open up. Here are just a few:

 

1. Resilient Leaders Need to be Adaptable

 

Workers are coming back with a ridiculous number of special cases. A one-size-fits-all solution isn’t going to work:

 

  • They could be at risk or related to those who are at risk.
  • They could be grieving the loss of loved ones.
  • Child care/school situations may be challenging.
  • Isolation may have been challenging to their mental health and coping skills.

 

On top of that, you’re dealing with a lot of other issues:

 

  • Government regulations could limit how fully you can open up.
  • Your budget could be tight, or at least look very different than pre-COVID-19.
  • Business priorities may have changed: projects sidelined, others prioritized.
  • No one knows if there will be a second wave causing other shutdowns this year.

 

The one thing we know is that any situation can change in a minute and you need to be prepared for that to happen, but keeping all of those priorities in line is going to be a challenge.

 

2. Resilient Leaders Need Empathy Like Never Before

 

“If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

– Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

 

Don’t be alarmed. The whole “walking around in someone else’s skin” thing is a metaphor. No serial killers here...Nope.

 

 

Right now, your workers are going to need you to understand the difficulties in their lives. This is harder when you haven’t been seeing them every day. They’re dealing with things you don’t know about and it’s easy to narrow down other people’s worlds into what’s right in front of you. Your staff is more likely to give all they have for you if they know you’re trying to understand.

 

Listen and ask questions. Let what you learn inform your decisions. Lead with your head and your heart together, wherever possible.

 

3. Resilient Leaders Need to Be Solid Communicators

 

In times of high stress, your workers need transparency. They’ve dealt with layoffs and confinement. They’re concerned about the economy and worried about their jobs, not to mention their families. Things don’t feel safe, and if they’re working remotely, they might feel out of touch. Things you would classify as “need to know,” they will need to know:

 

Share whatever you can. Share budget information, business strategies and direction, project information, etc. Knowledge is power.

 

Two ears, one mouth...

 

My mom used to say we were given two ears and one mouth so that we listen twice as much as we talk. Keep listening -- get feedback. You’ve hired great people, so trust their insights.

 

Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash

 

4. Resilient Leaders Need to be Creative Problem-Solvers

 

One-size-fits-all solutions won’t work right now. Every single one of your workers has different experiences of the shutdown. Some struggled in the isolation. Some got sick or had loved ones get sick. On the other hand, some found that the slower pace agreed with them and their families.

 

You’ve invested a lot in your workers over the years so you’ll want to take reasonable efforts to make the current situation work for all involved -- team members, your organization, and you. This can mean treading on new ground:

 

  • Some companies like Twitter found that remote work wasn’t nearly as chaotic as they thought it would be and they’ve implemented new policies that are more open to remote work. Would that work for your organization?

 

  • Some workers would like to continue to have their kids at home, especially with how restrictive classrooms will be next year. Is there a way to help them?

 

  • How do you keep things afloat while working with the limitations your clients or customers are encountering? How do you continue to meet their needs while keeping your doors open?

 

5. Resilient Leaders Need to Pace Themselves

 

So far, we’ve talked about your workers’ needs and your customer or client needs, but not yours. You can’t do everything -- and certainly not at once -- but it can seem like everything and everyone is demanding your time. So what do you do?

 

Take a lesson from Starbucks

 

And I don’t mean “spell everyone’s name creatively.”

 

Starbucks is famous for taking a notoriously unreliable workforce sector and teaching them soft skills that will not only help them do their jobs, but to succeed in life. One thing you’ll notice -- Starbucks employees only worry about the person or situation right in front of them.

This is true whether the line is going out the door or whether there’s one person in the store.

When each worker finishes their part of the job, they move on to the next customer. The customers get served as efficiently as any other method but the workers are less stressed.

 

The lesson: don’t try to solve everything at once. Focus on the situation in front of you and then move on to the next one.

 

Take care of you

 

As noble as that sounds, that approach doesn’t help anyone. The better approach is the one that the airlines put forward: “Secure your own air mask before assisting anyone else.” 

 

When people are tired or burned out, even in the midst of a crisis, pushing through isn’t the answer. People make poor decisions when they’re tired and they make big mistakes. Dr. Mallard and Jimmy would’ve been able to serve those families better with a few hours sleep.

 

During any crisis, prioritize taking care of yourself. It feels selfish, but it’s as good for those who need you as it is for you:

 

  • Get exercise
  • Eat nutritiously
  • Get enough sleep
  • Find time for something you enjoy
  • And breathe!

 

You’ll be better prepared to face the challenges and maybe even enjoy them. You’re not going to be able to play the long game if you’re frazzled and burned out.

 

6. Resilient Leaders Need Grit

 

We often put resilience and grit together. They do feed into each other. Grit is the courage to resolve to push through. While COVID-19 started out as a short-term crisis, it’s turned into a long-term ordeal.

 

And that’s why your resiliency skills feed into your determination to push through -- your grit.

 

We still have ways to go yet, and various challenges are going to come up. In order to roll with those challenges, as a resilient leader, you’ll need to adapt, empathize, listen, get creative, and pace yourself.

 

You’ve gotten this far, successfully. If you need some additional insight and strategies for strengthening these skills, continue reading our blog or consider our affordable, time-efficient, and resource-packed soft skills courses:

 

Strengthening Your Resilience and Grit

Discover How to Communicate in the 21st Century

Develop Your Creativity and Stand Out in the 21st Century

Learn How to Develop Your Cognitive Flexibility and Adaptability



MUST READ



    Stay updated on the latest posts from our blog!





      Close

      50% Complete

      Two Step

      Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.