Leadership in the New Normal: 4 Key Elements for Success by @deborahsweeney

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has given leaders around the world a once in a lifetime opportunity to elevate their leadership style. In response to this unprecedented crisis, an elevated leadership style means finding new ways to support teams, regardless of where they may be physically working, and to encourage engagement and connection.

As vaccinations continue to roll out and offices plan to reopen, it will be critical for leaders to understand what it means to return to work. We are not simply going back with the intention to do our jobs and leave at the end of the day. Rather, leaders in the new normal must prioritize embracing the following elements within their leadership style to gracefully and humbly lead teams onward.

 

Clear, Frequent Communication

In fraught periods of time, studies have shown that female doctors spend more time communicating with their patients. This amount of care and attention ultimately yields more positive health results from patients.

Personally, I have found that clear, frequent communication goes a long way in supporting teams as well. In the absence of communication, it is easy to draw conclusions. Many of these conclusions may not be correct and only lend to gossip fodder, which does not serve employees or the business.

The more you are able to communicate, the better — especially during uncertain times. In the post-pandemic landscape, it will be critical to keep clear communication going strong. Share with your team what your expectations are and communicate actionable strategies. Encourage feedback and engagement across the team, too.

 

Purpose

Many people, and organizations, learned a great deal about themselves during the pandemic. Some people decided to start a business and follow their passions. Others decided it was time to instill purpose into their companies.

As of writing this, B Lab, the global network for the Certified B Corporation movement, is experiencing high volumes of Certification interest. Businesses seeking to become Certified B Corps are signaling their commitment to a triple bottom line of people, profit, and purpose.

Some businesses may use the next normal as a time to becoming B Corp Certified and hold their organizations accountable to higher social and environmental standards.

If they are not quite ready to make this shift — which does mean completing a certification process and meeting legal requirements — there are other ways businesses may express purpose in and out of the workplace. They may focus on revising existing mission statements (or referring back to strong statements), implementing diversity and inclusivity programs, and creating vision statements for the future. The effect that comes with starting these initiatives today makes for a more accountable, transparent, and authentic workplace tomorrow.

 

Gratitude

Thank you! This is one of my favorite things to say and to write in any form of communication with team members, partners, and customers. The act of speaking, writing, and expressing gratitude makes me feel good. It makes everyone feel good, too. Why not express more gratitude when it is such a win-win for one and all?

Hamdi Ulukaya, the founder of Chobani, speaks about gratitude in “The anti-CEO playbook” TED Talks. Ulukaya discusses the need to rewrite the rules for business owners. The anti-CEO is one that does not prioritize profits. The leader, and business, should take care of its employees.

The way gratitude is expressed in the next normal needs to move beyond the notion of brief praise. Every employee is the employee of the month, not just one. An emphasis should be placed on prioritizing mental health. There is a community inside of every business. Caring and nurturing it allows one and all to succeed as a team.

 

Nimble

This unprecedented time has yielded many opportunities, even if they require making a bit of a pivot to get there. This is where nimble behavior has become key for so many leaders. A nimble approach allows you to move swiftly and work towards providing a thoughtful solution that benefits all.

Navigating a challenging time, now and into the future, requires maintaining that nimble approach and focus. It means supporting one another as needed, remaining calm, improving and growing, and being open minded to seize the moment. Leaders need to be nimble, so they are better able to emerge from this time aware and ready to hit the ground running with innovative and strategic ideas to improve all aspects of business and life.

 

 

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