Crucial Leadership Qualities to Succeed in Uncertain Times
Earlier this year, Mental Health UK reported that 46% of workers feel more prone to extreme levels of stress. A number of reasons were cited for this, from the general worry caused by the effects of the pandemic to the sudden adjustments they needed to make to shift work practices. In fact, Google searches for stress symptoms increased by 5000% throughout 2020, reflecting the impact of a remote working set-up.
Now more than ever, employees need thoughtful and empathetic leaders that will be there to support them — and the business — during these uncertain times. Here are four essential leadership qualities you should practice.
Strong communication skills
Cultivating strong communication skills should be the top priority for leaders, especially during a crisis. Good leaders make an effort to relay pertinent information as timely as possible. Use concrete words to set their expectations, so that there will be no room for confusion and miscommunication. And, most importantly, listen to your team’s feedback.
Leaders themselves may not be immune to getting overwhelmed, but in a situation like this, employees rely on you for guidance.
Good leaders may be planners, but great ones are flexible. For instance, nobody saw the pandemic coming, and with it, lockdown measures and remote working practices were implemented. The best leaders are those who found ways to continue operating, while making sure that their actions will benefit their team as a whole.
In other words, know that things will not always go as planned, but do not let uncertainty hamper your success. Modify your leadership style in response to unexpected situations, and revise their laid-out plans to accommodate changes.
Because of the distance, leaders may find it difficult to manage teams — and so, a lot of them turn to micromanaging. Micromanaging is not just a waste of time, but it also shows that you do not trust your employees enough to complete their workload. This can hamper their mental health and productivity, building resentment over time.
Fortunately, leaders can still improve on this aspect. One of many tips professionals give to those who work from home is to set clear boundaries and set definite work hours. Not only does this prevent stress and burnout, but it also emphasises how much you value your employees’ time.
Coaching is a critical skill in a leader’s toolbox. It enables managers to ask the right questions, listen actively and empower their team members to make their own decisions. Leaders with coaching skills are much more likely to be supportive and empathetic during difficult times. By coaching team members to find the answers they’re looking for (as opposed to telling them what to do), you create a self-motivated team that are more confident in their decision-making abilities.
Want to arm your exec team with the coaching skills they need to become inclusive leaders? You’re in luck.
Our ‘Be A Leader, Build A Leader’ programme is designed to provide professionals with coaching skills. It shows them how to ask the right questions, listen actively (rather than just telling), lead with empathy and empower their team members. Professionals on our programme practice their new skills by coaching and being coached by underrepresented young adults. It’s a unique approach to leadership development that’s been used by the likes of Facebook, Google, Innocent, Uber and many more. Not only will it impact your team, but you get to impact the life of a young Future Leader too.
Get in touch to learn more about the programme and how it could work for your team.
Article exclusively written for circl.org
By Alexis Thomas