Why We Need Compassionate Leadership in Crisis (and How Virtual Learning Works for You)

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 come up with new policies that baffled even health experts. Filipino professionals, many of whom are working remotely, are afraid, frustrated, and stressed.

Organizational leaders are struggling to find the right solutions. Our challenges isn’t just health and safety. Many of our people are suffering from mental health problems.

Our economy won’t recover until 2022 — and companies fold every month.

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 about being a leader 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 who have been using the 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.

It is meant to be tiny, relevant, and engaging.

I created the 5-Step Formula in Designing Virtual Learning to help you design webinars, virtual workshops, and online courses that build leaders who are compassionate and creative in times of crisis.

Think People First

We always begin with people.

People 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 have 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 their leaders need to understand. You can agree with me that leaders need to be compassionate. 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?

People want to know and 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.

People 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 having separate online classes.

Many teachers feel that they are not capable to teach online. They are not ready for it. There 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.

If you will to let go of training during 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).

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.

If you are looking for a virtual mentor, I offer my services to you.

Help Leaders Find New Solutions

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.

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 too.

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.

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. They will discover the mindsets and tools used by creative leaders to find the seeds of opportunities in every adversity.

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.

Equip Leaders to Be Compassionate and Creative in Times of Crisis

The following questions, when answered in detail, will help clarify your challenges. Your answers will help both of us find the “right” solutions. If you are not the sponsor (and the decision-maker), I encourage you to share the first five questions with him or her. Even if you don’t get me, you’ll be able to help your organization make the first step.