Well hello there May, and an extra big welcome to the good tidings you bring. I’m looking at you, step 1 in easing lockdown restrictions.

When I released Workology Co’s White paper in March 2020, I planned to write a series of blog pieces around each of the 6 key ingredients the paper identifies as prerequisites for exceptional workplace culture.

Then things got real serious, real quick. Almost overnight, phrases like ‘unprecedented’, ‘working from home’ ‘remote learning’ and ’ISO’ were the exception rather than the norm.

All of which meant when I came to be writing this blog centred around Workology’s theme of the month and one of the 6 key ingredients – namely leadership – the blog I expected to be writing was not this one.

Instead I found myself wondering:

Has the fundamental of what leadership looks like changed since COVID19 has hit? If yes – then how? And what might we need leadership to look like on the other side?

Background

The Whitepaper came about after months of research, including interviewing and surveying over 30 participants from a range of industries.

The six key ingredients required for exceptional workplace culture as identified in the paper are:

The six key ingredients for exceptional culture look like this.

Many elements make up ‘exceptional leadership’. The white paper found they include:

  • “People leave their managers, not the organisation” is as true today as it ever has been.
  • 70% of survey participants agreed that one of the main challenges preventing organisations moving towards exceptional culture was that leaders are not skilled to be leaders or managers.
  • 65% of survey respondents nominated “leaders took time to know and care for their team members” as a feature of the best workplace they had every worked in.

“I think senior leaders need to role model the expected culture and ensure that they’re holding their teams to account on it… You need a leadership team that will live it and will own it. Because if they are not setting the example or holding their teams to account, it is very hard for that to then be truly embedded in the business” (Shauna*, Senior Leader, Digital Business as quoted in the white paper)

What type of leader is needed right now?

Is the type of leader organisations need now the same as pre-COVID19?

I would argue yes – but the qualities are essential now as opposed to ‘nice to have’.

The one quality we need leaders to display above all others, is the ability to communicate.

The world and our little corner of it down under, continues to change at a pace we have never previously experienced.

As Australia appears to have dodged the health bullet in many ways, focus now shifts to the economic impact of lockdown and a likely recession. Employees therefore need the leaders in their organisations to tell them in clear terms, how the crisis impacts their organisations.

We want our leaders to: –

  • Clearly and honestly tell us how the company is placed to withstand the economic pressure
  • Tell us if our job is secure. If not, be kind and compassionate when you let us go.
  • Be crystal clear on what the business priorities are, and break it down so each member understands what they need to do to help meet those priorities
  • Recognise we ae all scared. Be compassionate about how team members might be feeling – even if your team are still employed, their partners might not be
  • Share regularly what is going on. The good and the bad news.
  • Know us and care for us.
  • Help us stay productive – having a purpose and work to do is crucial to surviving

Fortune telling

Now I am no psychic, nor do I have a crystal ball. I do not know what the world will look like in 2 weeks’ time, let alone 2 months or 10 months.

If I were a betting gal however, I would place good money on the notion that post COVID19 the type of leader we will need is leaders who employ a people first philosophy.

Leaders who are authentic. Who share that they too are scared, that they do not know all the answers.

Leaders who communicate both ways – they listen to us, they engage in conversations with us, they ask for our opinions and our suggestions.

One of my organisational development heroes, Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, wrote this short and simple piece of advice Three thoughts for leaders in perilous times. Lencioni says

These unprecedented times call for you to stretch beyond your normal comfort zones and be even more vulnerable than usual.

He suggests leaders can do this in three ways – be exceedingly human, persistent and creative.

If you want to learn more about how to be a great leader, then contact me here. Workology Co can help with 360-degree feedback reports; leadership and team coaching; facilitated workshops for leaders and other targeted solutions.

 Or if you are a psychic or a fortune teller, then I would love to hear your predictions for the future. Strictly for research purposes of course.