How To Be An Effective Leader During A Pandemic
July 24, 2020
Businesses have always had the need for effective leaders. Certainly, many businesses prosper despite not having a strong leader at the helm. The super, successful businesses, however, have really effective leaders. They know how to make the right decisions at the right times. They know how to motivate employees and navigate obstacles. They have a vision for the future and know how to get there.
During economic downturns and, especially, now during a pandemic, effective leadership is a necessity for success rather than just a luxury that’s nice for a business to have. Effective leadership can make the difference between success and failure, breakeven or profitable, short-term existence or long-term sustainability. Small businesses and SMEs might not have any layers of leadership between employees and the top of the ladder; therefore, businesses even with a small number of employees need an effective leader.
Concentrate on these following traits to become as effective as possible:
Ability to Learn – An effective leader must be in a constant learning mode. This is learning from the past experiences, learning from past mistakes, learning about the current business environment, and learning what the future might hold.
Have Strong Communication Skills – Effective leaders know how to communicate with anyone on whatever particular level they might be. Directives, answers, or needs addressed might be with employees, customers, vendors, or bankers. A sign of strong and effective communication is when a leader speaks and a clear, simple, concise message is received by the other party.
Build Trust and Relationships – An effective leader builds trust with colleagues, employees, and a variety of business relationships. Although it takes time to build integrity and credibility, once trust and loyalty are developed, relationships become stronger which will help a business through tough times.
Have a Positive Attitude – Everyone enjoys being around someone with a positive attitude. A positive attitude seems to breed the same type of attitude in others. An effective leader with a positive attitude can change a negative environment and negative thoughts into a positive environment with positive thoughts and energy...a much-needed trait during a pandemic.
Being Able to Understand and Listen – Times are tough for everyone during a pandemic...financial hardships, fear, quarantines, childcare, and just a different way of life. Sometimes, an understanding shoulder to lean on can help ease the pain and anxiety of these troubling times. Effective leaders know that it is not always just about business and making correct business decisions that help stabilize a company. The human factors of understanding and listening must be part of the equation.
Being a Risk Taker – Effective leaders know that at times, risks must be taken. These risks, however, must be calculated risks rather than simply spontaneous risks. During challenging times, businesses must pivot to different forms of operations which normally bear a certain amount of risk. Changing operations, seeking underserved or different markets, or having a vision of diversification, can lead a business toward a new path of increased success. Again, those risks must be calculated through study and analysis.
Coaching and Mentoring – It’s easy for an owner or manager to get caught up in their own daily tasks and forget about one of the most important assets of any business...employees. Effective leaders on the other hand know how important it is to coach, mentor, and motivate employees regardless of the size of the business. Employees working in a business with 10 employees have the same needs to be coached and mentored as employees working for a business with 100 employees. Teaching, training, and motivating prepares all employees for higher levels of responsibility resulting in higher job satisfaction...and higher job satisfaction leads to increased business success.
Put It All Together
Certainly, it is not easy being a leader during a pandemic, but strong and effective leadership is a very necessary ingredient for business success. Although some individuals might be natural born leaders, others have to work to become effective leaders. Consider the above traits of effective leaders. Work to develop each trait as much as possible. There is no downside, but the upside is unlimited success.