“We have got to assume it is going to get worse and worse and worse”*
*Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, USA.
Unlike some of the recent natural calamities in India or abroad e.g., the catastrophic storms of Fani or Bulbul, tsunami, earthquakes, floods, draughts, and their impact is most often local or regional or national.
Pandemics by nature, are global. When we combine a pandemic with uncertainty, we get a scary message of fear and even panic. That is why those in leadership position either in corporate or institution, need to come forward and make a positive contribution for those they lead. When adversity comes, people look for direction and guidance, and that’s why leaders must exert their influence to shape the best way forward.
Action for Leaders in this Testing Time
Avoid Exaggeration– Be true with people. Reveal what you can about the business, but do not make promises you cannot keep. Stick to the facts and remember that even what you think is valid now, may not be so tomorrow.
Stay in Touch– Whether your employees are in the workplace or working from home, make yourself available for them for any support. Employees are stressed with work as well as their family members. Listen to them and extend your helping hands, whenever they need.
Self Care– The stress on leaders is enormous now. Uncertainty looms heavily on them. There is always a tendency to push aside personal concerns. But if you are in charge, you must make sure, you eat healthy, get enough sleep and exercise whenever you can.
Remain Safe– Leaders should follow all health and safety precautions, starting with stay home if you are vulnerable. Cough into your arm, avoid shaking hands, wash hands regularly with soaps or alcohol based liquids. “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it” (James Lane Allen). And it is the revelation of character that is most important. Employees are looking to leaders who do not shirk from responsibility, but rather embrace the challenges. Such leaders do not hold themselves apart, rather they bring along others with them. They delegate responsibility and authority, even while remaining in the loop to monitor what is happening around.
As worse as this pandemic crisis is, it will present us with opportunities. What those opportunities are may be unknown to us, but as the saying goes, “never waste a good crisis.” Leader must be thinking ahead of others, as early as possible they are able to do so.
As a result, adversity reveals more than character, it also shines a light on talent. Men and women, who have gone unnoticed suddenly find themselves in the limelight with an opportunity to apply their skills to current crisis. People who are able to do so, will mark them as competent one, to give more responsibility and eventual promotions.
Though, we all hope this pandemic corona virus crisis will pass in short time, health experts warn that more novel viruses will plague us in the days to come. How leaders act today, will set the tone and tenor for how we deal with future crisis.
I end, with a quote of Dr. Anthony Fauci:
Troubles have a way of shrinking some,
But elevating the minds and hearts of others,
Follow me, they say. I will lead.
Come along, they say.
Together we will make our way.
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