By Sharon Pegg, Director Northern Powerhouse Consulting
Will Covid-19 Redefine Management?
Covid-19 has forced us to adopt and accept huge changes to our lives as we know it, and the world of work is no exception. We’ve see then large-scale introduction of remote working, socially-distanced workplaces, and for managers, it may even redefine the way that they manage.
While you do need a strong leader during a crisis, one that barks orders and uses more stick than carrot is not what people need at this time.
Instead of a command and control management style, managers need to act in a way that shows their teams “we’re all in this together".
Their response in the coming months and beyond shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. In uncertain times, there’s a need to be adaptable and to be aware of employees’ individual needs.
Old processes and procedures that focused on efficiency and standardisation above giving every single one of your people the chance to shine, and in doing so, elevating the organisation, should be completely overhauled.
The need for a human approach to management
In the post-Covid world, managers need to take a human approach. They need to show compassion, encourage collaboration and contribution, and listen. Organisations need to reinvent themselves to meet the challenges of the new normal, and this starts with leaders managing in a way that involves and empowers employees. This is how organisations will rebuild and recover.
What leaders must focus on right now.
Helping employees achieve work-life balance
Wellbeing and the need for flexibility have been brought massively into focus by the pandemic. Leaders need to create a culture where work-life balance and wellbeing are a priority, and create policies and procedures that reflect this.
Open and honest communication
Covid-19 forced the adoption of remote working, and in turn, it drove the need to improve the way managers communicate with their employees. As well as being open and honest with employees about the situation and how the organisation is moving forward, managers need to remove blocks to communication and decision-making. Cascading information down from above, or withholding it from employees is no longer a sensible strategy.
If you want employees to help your organisation rebuild and recover, they need to trust you and they need to feel like they (and their skills) are valued, so they need to know everything you know, and they need the power to run with decisions themselves sometimes.
There’s nothing like a pandemic to level the playing field. Everyone has had a rough time and everyone has their stories to tell, so leaders can capitalise on this and create more meaningful connections in the workplace.
Leading through change does require strong leadership, but the old way of thinking that a strong leader needs to be an autocrat is no longer valid. Recent studies of CEOs and entrepreneurs have found that leaders themselves believe that softer skills like empathy and being able to listen are a must when it comes to steering organisations through periods of change. They know that if the organisation is going to thrive in the coming months and beyond, they need to engage employees as well as inspiring trust and loyalty. An autocrat is not what’s needed.
An organisation is only as good as its people, and the way you manage those people will determine your level of success in this post-Covid era.
Managers; don’t be afraid to let go of the old ways that you know deep down won’t work now. Not all change is bad, so step up and lead from the front in your organisation.
Put your best foot forward into a new way of leading.