Leadership resilience is conventionally termed as an individual’s ability to bounce back from adversity regardless of the difficulties. The new normal sparked by the pandemic has pushed leadership resilience to new limits. As such, modern leaders are forced to consider new strategies to adapt and cope with the influx of work-from-home and healthcare measures amongst other changes.
The ideal leader during these tough times must be well-equipped and mentally prepared to handle unprecedented challenges. This novel change is spread across multiple fronts at the workplace, which largely focuses on employee management.
Leadership resilience sets examples for employees, showing that any challenge can be overcome with resourcefulness, calmness, and clear-minded decision-making. This, in turn, encourages employees to make effective decisions for themselves, which drives organisational performance.
As such, leadership resilience serves as a major component in an engaged workplace. An engaged workforce consists of highly motivated individuals who are geared to go above and beyond in their roles.
Empathy – The Human Touch
Empathy is a crucial aspect of leadership, more so during times of hardship and turmoil. A leader with high levels of leadership resilience must be able to anticipate the concerns and challenges faced by his employees. This means providing workers with comfort and support when they exhibit the slightest signs of an emotional struggle. Employers should also know when it is the right time to recommend professional assistance – (i.e. to visit a workplace counsellor) or offer them the break they need to rest and recharge.
Susan Milligan, the Director of patient experience at Ensemble Health Partners sums it well, “At some point, this pandemic will be over, and our lives will get back to normal, but our families, friends, coworkers, and patients will remember how we responded and treated one another. This is our time to build a legacy of empathy and grace.”
Worker experiences during times of strife are naturally more memorable than ordinary times. The new normal will carry along a wide set of insecurities and anxieties, which leaders should tackle with sensitivity, care, and promptness. This will help maintain the productivity and concentration of workers during the period and beyond.
Versatility – Not Settling for the Basics
Leadership resilience transcends sustainability. Model leaders should be confident in maintaining organisational structure while constantly seeking ventures. In other words, effective leaders should not be content with simply existing – the drive for continual improvement must stay strong despite the novel landscape. The new economy is set to bring about new opportunities, and many of these will prove advantageous to the organisation.
Most companies are unlikely to take risks during the new normal due to a fragile economy. However, a leader who is well-informed should be able to get ahead of the curve by capitalising on the subtle market and technological trends.
Honesty – More than the Best Policy
Honesty is often touted as the best policy but it really is the foundation of a healthy organisational structure. Although the basics of leadership resilience suggest that employees should be consistently inspired to do their best, this should never be practised under mistruth.
Leaders should always be transparent with their employees. They should not conceal or sugar-coat a situation or crisis even if it seems dire. Employees should not feel motivated to seek third-party sources for the latest organisational news. These external agencies are likely to be inaccurate and injurious to the reputation of the organization. Alternatively, if the word holds true, it will result in a serious breach of trust between leaders and their employees.
Both outcomes are detrimental to an organisation so leaders should always ensure that their employees are always kept factually updated on the latest developments during the new normal.
Visionary – Looking Ahead of the Bump
The new normal is likely to remain the status quo for a while. However, leaders should not restrict themselves to immediate hurdles or limit their responses. Long-term planning is a timeless strategy (exemplified by how the best chess masters are always several steps ahead of their competition) and leaders in the new normal should consider adopting this as a precept when confronting each challenge.
A solution should never be strictly short-term, it should be easily repurposed to benefit the long-term trajectory of a company. And it could all lie behind the spirit of innovation.
Martin Hirt, a global leader of McKinsey’s Strategy and Corporate Finance practice shares, “The hope lies in innovation. We have already seen innovation pick up at an unprecedented speed. We see things happening in 24 hours that usually take months. People who normally manufacture fans or Formula 1 cars are now developing ventilators and masks. We see companies sharing their ventilator designs with the rest of the world. Right now, everybody is experimenting, but at a speed that is very encouraging. “
Leaders should identify the pain points surfaced during the new normal and discover transformational methods of solving those issues. They should then brainstorm ways to integrate that problem-solving process into core operations. Additionally, leaders should avoid the sole focus on problems, and keep an eye out on emerging markets and opportunities.
Preparing for the Unknown – Infer from the Facts
One of the most important steps in leadership resilience through the new normal involves identifying possible scenarios. As the adage goes, one should always know thy enemy. Deloitte perfectly outlines this with its assessment of four possible new normal scenarios.
While the economy is restructured, leaders can stay resilient with a repositioned mindset and response strategy. The greatest challenges bring out the best leaders and the crisis has set the stage for many success stories waiting to be told.
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