Leadership in times of crisis requires new mindsets and skills. Leaders must be compassionate, creative, and inspiring. They uplift others and enable them to act.
Our Covid-19 situation is full of uncertainties. After so many months of being in quarantine, thousands are still getting infected every day. Almost every week, our government comes up with new policies that baffled even health experts.
Filipino professionals, many of whom are working remotely, are afraid, frustrated, and stressed.
Leadership in Times of Crisis
Organizational leaders are struggling because of the impact of Covid-19. Our challenges aren’t just health and safety. Many of our people are suffering from mental health problems.
Our economy won’t recover until 2025.
Today, more than ever, leaders need to enroll the support of everyone in the organization. Leaders must use every resource available to the organization and bring together the wisdom of everyone.
We need to support, inspire, and equip our leaders.
I don’t know the “right” solutions to our challenges today. But I can contribute what I know to help understand leadership in times of crisis.
Though I will no longer facilitate a live workshop for leaders, I still want to help.
Even before the pandemic, I have advocated the use of online courses, virtual workshops, and webinars. That’s because the 4th Industrial Revolution is already here. There are countries that have been using internet technology to educate their people.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of remote education.
But make no mistake. These virtual learning platforms aren’t typical. The typical ones are lecturers who do “death by powerpoint”. They kill you with bullets and boredom. Virtual education isn’t traditional training.
Training opportunities can be tiny, relevant, and engaging.
If you will let go of training during a crisis, you are going to make a big mistake. Leaders need to learn how to take care of their people. They need new tools so they can design high-performance work (without being perceived as ruthless).
What Do Employees Want
We need leaders who demonstrate empathy, both in good times and bad. In times of crisis, we need leaders who pay attention to the needs of the people they are leading.
Most of us are clueless, I know.
But we can always bounce forward when we listen more. We cannot move forward by simply bringing some of our leaders to a war room and trying to solve the problems by ourselves.
We become stronger when we work together. We have seen that every time we do bayanihan. This crisis is no different.
Employees want to feel free and in control.
Remote work is not new. It does not mean “work from home”. Remote work is work from anywhere. At least, that’s how it was before Covid-19.
Today, most of us are in quarantine. We are encouraged to stay at home and do away with live meetings. We are discouraged to meet our friends, attend birthdays and weddings — or go to a parent’s funeral.
All problems can be solved when people work together. Leaders who walk in the shoes of people they serve inspires confidence and trust. They also get to use the most important asset in any organization: people.
Even those who work at home feel like they are in a big prison. Some feel that they are helpless, not in control.
This is why leaders need to see where people are coming from. The way we work has changed dramatically.
For example, Liza.
She has two daughters, age 6 and 8. Both are attending online classes. Her husband works abroad. Her house help went home two weeks before the quarantine.
She’s a member of three on-going projects. Each project owner demands her time. She felt she’s no longer working eight hours a day. She’s working 12 hours and still, her immediate supervisor isn’t satisfied.
There are many Lizas out there.
Each has unique challenges which its leaders need to understand. You can agree with me that leaders need to be compassionate and kind. Leaders need to be creative so they can find ways to help employees feel that they are still in control and that they are in charge of their lives.
But not every leader knows how to do that, right?
Employees want to feel that they belong.
These days, many training vendors offer team building programs. They offer games team members can have fun together.
I think virtual team building is an important step. Leaders can do make members of the team play online games — and they don’t have to hire me or anyone else. They can Google “virtual team building games” and I am pretty sure they can get dozens of good games.
But if you know me, I will encourage teams to focus on goals, not games. Team building is not about playing games.
In times of crisis, what we need is to feel that we belong.
The need to belong is greater in times of crisis. Everyone can feel frightened and overwhelmed. Leaders need to understand that people need to feel supported, cared for, and loved. People need to feel that sense of malasakit. They need the presence of the leader. They need to feel that they belong to the team.
This is why team building is critical. But not only the game type.
What people need is for everyone to provide support, enable a shared focus on the tasks, and provides the environment for team learning and innovation.
Employees Want to Become Capable
I was working on a new module while encouraging my son to pay attention to her teacher. He’s in grade 1. And he was complaining that the class was too long and too slow.
He was overwhelmed by the text-heavy slides on his iPad screen. My son is not yet a reader and his teachers are using words like pakikipagtalasan, pakikilahok, and stagnant water.
I am not blaming his teacher.
She was trying her best to navigate Google classroom, fixing her crappy microphone, and cursing (I imagined) her slow internet connection. She’s trying her best to get the children’s attention whose small faces show utter boredom. The most difficult challenge was to tell parents to mute their microphones as there is too much noise from adults who didn’t care.
She apologized often. She has a daughter and a son to attend to while teaching. Both have separate online classes.
Many teachers feel that they are not capable to teach online. They are not ready for it. These students are not ready for it too.
Consider your employees who are similarly situated.
Some leaders, unfortunately, don’t get it. Most people feel overwhelmed by too much work.
An IT guy told me that his work today is twice more difficult than before. His boss monitors his work every hour as if the former has nothing else to do.
In times of crisis, most people feel that they lack the competence to solve new problems and navigate the murky waters of “work from home”.
This is why leaders need to learn new ways of handling employees. They need to show compassion — and they need to find creative ways so employees perform at their best.
It is important that targets are hit and work gets done.
A webinar or a virtual workshop provides leaders opportunities to see problems in new ways. As they learn human-centered tools and processes, they’ll find new courage to lead. They’ll feel capable.
We don’t have to begin from scratch. This isn’t the first time humanity met a crisis. Some people have experienced crisis worst than what we how now. We can learn from them.
I can help.
A leadership speaker is your mentor on stage.
He is given an hour or two to deliver actionable ideas or elegant strategies that you can use so you can solve your leadership challenges.
You don’t pay a leadership speaker for every hour he is on the stage. I mean you don’t pay him 100,000 pesos for an hour of speaking, then pay him 200,000 pesos for a couple of hours of speaking.
A mentor is here to help you succeed. The measure of his success is your ability to succeed in the shortest possible time. Pay him for the value he provides, not for the number of hours he or she speaks on stage.
Leadership speakers are professionals. We know that leaders who listen to us do not have all the time in the world.
We don’t want to waste their time with 30 minutes of jokes, 30 minutes of content, and another 30 minutes of book signing. That’s insane, but this is happening in many parts of the world.
This is why the best of leadership speakers look for the best stories, the best examples, the best illustrations, the best method or formula so leaders can digest our message and learn our tools in the shortest time possible.
Online Courses & Webinars
We can also design new solutions. We are in the best of times too. Technology provides as opportunities to succeed better than anytime in human history. What’s important is we keep our core values intact as we try new ways of solving new problems.
Virtual learning goes beyond webinar, workshops, and online courses. Those platforms. More important that platforms are your system of educating leaders. I can help you.
To kickstart ourselves, I designed three programs I believe leaders need during this crisis. They’ll learn mindsets, strategies, and skills that will help them get ahead in the new normal to
Six Vital Behaviors of Crisis-Ready Leaders
Leadership roles have changed. It has been months since the start of the pandemic, but leaders are still looking for the “right solutions” to handle the ever-changing situation.
I studied the behaviors of leaders who navigated crisis after crisis. There are six vital behaviors that can help you manage a crisis.
Effective Ways to Spark Creativity
Crisis presents opportunities we have not seen before. Many companies folded. They did not survive. And some companies grew.
You can provide leaders opportunities to create new solutions. Discover mindsets and tools used by creative leaders to find seeds of opportunities in every adversity.
Lead Remote Employees with Compassion
We need to encourage malasakit at work. Work From Home is not as elegant as we used to think. Employees feel frightened, left out, and discouraged.
Find out how you can make people feel that you listen and care. Learn how to redesign work so everyone feel valued and get the job done.
Make Virtual Learning Work
Discover Your Best
Begin with what you have when people work at their best. We strive to understand your situation. We pay attention to your strengths, opportunities, aspirations, and your desired results.
Define Desired Change
Clarify what you really want to achieve, the change and the impact that you want to see. Our purpose is to move from X to Y immediately and well for minimum cost, effort, and energy..
Design Learning Solutions
We consider multiple ways to solve your present challenges and seek (or create) new solutions. Then, we pick the best combination that promotes quick learning and engagement.
Deliver for Results
Whatever platform we use – virtual workshops, webinars, online courses, or group coaching – our intention is to immediately apply vital behaviors and critical skills.
Implement & Evaluate
True learning comes with practice. Even the tiniest learning unit may bring mighty results when implemented. Use various engagement strategies and tools to make change happen.
Embed within Culture
You can 10x or even 1000x your investment when you keep your eye on the ball. The secret to our learning system isn’t the two-hour webinar or virtual workshop. The secret is discipline.