In these disruptive and uncertain times when COVID-19 has turned the world as we know it upside down, effective leadership is more critical than ever.
The global pandemic has impacted almost everybody in the workforce, both personally and professionally. Managers are working from home and supporting their teams remotely, some for the first time. They must learn to motivate their employees and solve ongoing challenges presented by the restrictions imposed by the current operating environment. Leaders everywhere are wondering how to use collaborative technology, engage employees, achieve organizational goals, communicate information and make decisions when the answers aren’t clear.
Leadership today has become increasingly complex. The role of leaders is being redefined as the culture of the workplace evolves. One thing that is certain, leaders will not be able to be successful on their own! Collaboration will be critical. The time is now to really break down silos, and not just talk about it!
Leaders accustomed to the traditional authoritative approach will have to shift their mindset and develop new capabilities for change and transformation. Organizational leadership should focus more on creating a positive employee experience and collaborating effectively with others to develop innovative solutions. Empathy, emotional intelligence and trust building are becoming necessary qualities.
Empathy requires recognizing other people’s emotions and understanding their situation and reality. Building trust and relationships is required, even when working with remote team members. Frequent communication, sharing critical information and jointly solving problems together by addressing the root cause and generating solutions will be critical. Leaders who are more skilled in coaching and providing effective feedback will be more successful in creating collaborative cultures.
A shared purpose helps to align and motivate staff. Other major crises such as SARS, 9/11 and even Apollo 13 all seemed impossible at the beginning, and yet solutions prevailed when people worked together. This current pandemic and its global impact will require individuals, teams, organizations, countries and other systems to use a collaborative approach to overcome challenges and define solutions together.
Leaders who engage others will be more successful in enabling organizations to navigate these transformational times. By connecting, communicating and collaborating more effectively with one another, we will have opportunities to develop more productive workplaces. Let’s make the most of it. Let’s determine our collective future together!
Michelle Chambers., MEd, CHRL, CTDP, CSODP, CTPC, is a Schulich Exec Ed facilitator for the Building High Performing Teams & Collaborative Cultures program.
The topic of this article is inspired by the curriculum for the Schulich Exec Ed program Building High Performing Teams & Collaborative Cultures.
This three-day program will help you create and foster a culture of collaboration and innovation where people work together effectively in teams to solve business problems.
Due to the COVID-19 health emergency, the upcoming session of this program (April 20 – 22, 2020) will be delivered online.