Cool Head, Warm Heart. This is a great overall ethos to bring to your leadership right now. Cool head includes identifying the facts from the noise and confronting the reality of what is happening. It’s about focusing on things you can control and influence and not being distracted by the things you can’t. Warm heart is about bringing care and compassion to how you engage with people as you respond to the reality of the situation.
Straight Up, Personable, Can Do. Catapult’s research shows that these three attributes are what Kiwis want most from their leaders. People want you to tell things as they are and to be warm, compassionate, empathetic, and available. People expect you to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in to bring calm and stability to the situation.
Involve People. While people will be looking to you to do what you can, you can’t solve these types of challenges by yourself. Actively involve staff in plans for how to navigate Covid-19 and any resulting recession. Let staff be part of the process rather than passengers. In doing so they will have a greater sense of control and ownership. You will get more and better ideas and higher ownership.
Communicate. Mining the Diamonds research shows people want regular clear and open communications. Even if there is nothing new to tell, tell them that, otherwise they will make stuff up.
Manage Your Leadership Contagion. Your mood, your leadership way of being, communicates far more powerfully than what you say or do. Be emotionally regulated and ask yourself, ‘Who do I need to be for people right now?’ In chaotic times, a key role for leaders is to bring calm and stability. A good starting point for thinking about who you need to be is ‘calm, confident and forward looking’. That’s a virus people will want to catch!
Use Your Backbone. If your organisation has developed ‘backbone’ elements of purpose, vision, and values, use these to help navigate tough times. They are gold.
Your purpose tells you how you add value to the world, so don’t lose sight of this as you respond to what’s going on.
Your vision tells you what you want to achieve long-term. What’s happening is very likely going to impact on your ability to achieve your strategic objectives but don’t lose sight of the long game while dealing with the here and now.
Your values are the organisation’s core beliefs about what’s important. Reference your values to inform what you should or should not do. For example, if you have a value of ‘innovation’, use this as a call to get people to think creatively about how to adapt. If you have a value such as ‘whanaungatanga’ (relationships and connection), use this to help guide how you interact and communicate with staff, customers, and suppliers.