COVID-19 has not just changed the world but also changed the DNA of our workplace ecosystem in many ways. Our leaders must change as well to lead effectively in this new era.
If this pandemic experience has taught us anything, it’s that leadership matters and for many organizations facing decidedly fragile futures, it may matter now more than ever as the country tries to emerge from forced hibernation and rebuild a broken economy. Resilient leaders shift organizational mindsets, navigate uncertainties, and invest in building trust in order to develop a recovery playbook that serves as a solid foundation for the post-COVID future.
Here are our predictions for which topics will be in greatest demand by business leaders over the post corona world:
Leaders often wear many hats and certainly as workers return to the workplace, leaders will become counselor in chief in many ways. Indeed, this tragedy has touched so many in such profound ways that many workers will be essentially working while grieving.
Leaders need to tap into a keen level of sensitivity as they consider changes to long standing policies and processes (e.g. sick leave, time off, telecommuting, etc.) to better fit their organization’s (or their industry’s) new normal. For leaders who aren’t naturally empathetic, they should surround themselves with others who can help fill that gap.
Although leadership is a perennial topic on the thought leadership agenda, we expect interest in it to increase even further as companies seek to learn lessons from the current turmoil. Put simply, there is no blueprint to follow, so demand for insight into how to respond is sure to be high.
Popular themes are likely to include purpose-driven leadership; the shift from a command-and-control model to a more networked approach; along with interest in more informed decision-making, empathic communication and resilience. Many business leaders will have gone through immense stress and strain over the weeks and months, so interest in well-being, mental health and personal resilience will also be strong.
This will likely be a tricky topic to navigate. Concerns about automation’s potential to reduce the need for human workers may seem insensitive at a time when jobs have been cut. For many companies, investment in AI and automation have involved capital expenditure, something we expect to see much come under greater scrutiny in the months ahead. Yet interest in automation and AI is unlikely to wane. Instead, the focus will shift to using these technologies to drive operational improvements and seeking new ways to boost efficiency against a highly strained financial and economic backdrop.
It is impossible to overestimate gravity of the crisis. Many of you are wrestling with existential challenges; virtually all of you will have to adopt what amounts to a wartime footing. You may feel that you simply can’t afford to carve out the time that it takes to set a vision and build a strategic path to it. But the leaders who manage the day-to-day and lead with vision will emerge from the crisis with companies that are stronger and more resilient than they were before. ¿Do you agree?