“Let us not waste a great crisis” is the mantra we constantly hear from great minds ever since we experienced the Covid-19 pandemic crisis of 2020. For businesses or large corporations, it might mean re-evaluating how they currently operate and make it more crisis proof in the future.
Some might make their online presence as strong as their bricks and mortar presence. Some might change the way they interact with their customers. Some might even go further as re-branding the business to fit the current ethos. Whatever change they want to do, it all starts with looking at their current status and asking, how can we do better? It takes courage to change how business operates.
But it takes more courage to look at our personal lives and ask, Will I DARE do better?
In the past few year, we have seen SARS, Ebola, AIDS, and all sorts of diseases ravage this new world, but we have never seen anything as widespread and as horrible as Covid-19. It has caused tens of thousands of deaths in some countries, sick people left in hospital corridors unattended , bodies piling up in mass graves, borders closed to incoming visitors. Some industries like tourism, hospitality and retail have had zero income for months and months, causing joblessness to climb day by day. It has caused countries to be locked down, scrambling for cover.
And then there is you, the business leader or owner , with a massive challenge in front of you.
Are Women Really Better Leaders than Men? 6 Leadership Skills and 2 Secret Sauces That makes A Great Leader
Since the world has been thrust into chaos, we have started to take notice of how the leaders in each country are doing. More and more, we are seeing articles online that say that the women leaders are outstripping the men in how they handled the pandemic in their own countries, and there has been in a sense a bit of truth in that. We have seen how women have been fast to act in ordering lockdowns and border shutdowns, and how the trajectory of infections is going down because of these. People are saying this is because they are women, and they have maternal instincts, and they are more attuned to people.
To say that they are better leaders because they are women is not only a lazy way of analyzing the situation, it is also a bit sexist. It is more than just being female. For these leaders to have done well in this pandemic, they would need skills to navigate the waters. So what are some of the basic skills and competencies these leaders need to have to be effective in their role? Let us look at one example closer to home. My home, New Zealand.
2020. The year of upheaval. Businesses are closed, people are in isolation, borders are shut to outsiders. Countries are in lockdown. This will be the year that will be known in history books as the year the whole world shut down.
Staffing issues such as excessive absenteeism, moodiness, tardiness, inability to complete jobs in a timely manner, and under performing are some of the things you can expect when managing a team. These issues can also result in a more silent and dangerous problem in the rest of the team, which is resentment from the rest of the performing team members. The resentment can turn to anger, frustration, despair, feeling undervalued, discontent, cause the performing member to leave as they are now fed up with picking up the slack of non-performing team members.Staffing issues such as excessive absenteeism, moodiness, tardiness, inability to complete jobs in a timely manner, and under performing are some of the things you can expect when managing a team. These issues can also result in a more silent and dangerous problem in the rest of the team, which is resentment from the rest of the performing team members. The resentment can turn to anger, frustration, despair, feeling undervalued, discontent, cause the performing member to leave as they are now fed up with picking up the slack of non-performing team members.
How good are you in managing your emotions?It can spell the difference between getting that promotion or not
It’s the first Wednesday of the month and the team is ready to have its monthly team meeting. Rosie, the lady in charge of the projector, was running around like mad as she could not find the projector lead which she thought she had packed with the projector. The department head, Helen was going to join the meeting and speak on pay increases among other things. Everyone was excited to be in the meeting, except Rosie who thought one colleague, Mark, had taken the lead out of the bag for whatever reason. Now she was fretting, her mind kept turning to Mark sabotaging her role since she complained about him for coming late almost always when he is at work. She concluded that he wanted her fired, and what better way than to make her look incompetent in front of the department head. Fuming, livid, she turned to Helen, and hysterically cried that Mark was a devious snake who wanted her fired.
“You are where you are today is a testament of where your mind is right now”.
If I were talking to spiritual teachers, they would say that this is because of the power of visualisation. If I were talking to hard core business people, they would say this is because of planning and execution and nothing else. I say this is both and a bit more.
I never once thought that we are a product of chance, and that life just happens to us. I have always thought that we can design the life we want if we want it badly enough. What I did not know then was the extent of that truth, and that truth, explored even further can lead you to wonderful places. And it starts with your mind. What you have in your toolbox to make a wonderful life includes your mind, your emotions, your resilience, your ability to know what will work for your personal circumstances and what
won’t, your awareness of things happening to you and around you.
A few months back, I had an important conversation with one of my senior staff members. She was tapped to be part of our training team, and I thought to give her a list of skills she needed to develop to be successful in her role. One such skill in the list was Emotional Intelligence. I told her I have a book she might want to read to help her with this. Naturally, eyebrow raised, she asked “ Do you not think I am emotionally intelligent?” I said, “well, I’m not implying you are not, but there are a few things you can learn from the book which will help you understand how to deal with issues as a trainer as they arise”. I lent her the book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.
Do you have one on your team?
All business leaders want one in their team. A superstar is the person in your staff who sells the most, is loved by the customers the most, and loved by the team the most. This person thrives in the limelight and is the one most people turn to when they have questions or don’t know what to do in certain situations. The superstar is the most charismatic and influential person on the team. The one who is always on the go.
Other team members...
It is more than likely that the rest of the team pales in comparison to your superstars. They don’t make as many sales, and their customers and other team members probably like them just fine, though you wouldn’t say they were anyone’s favourites. They do okay, and they sometimes tend to coast.
Just like that, eh?
Well, unfortunately, firing someone without going through the proper processes here in New Zealand will land you in employment court. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re in the right; the employee still has the right to go through a performance management process.
As the employer, you must show that you are actively helping the staff member to improve their performance.
The staff member has to go through a first warning, a second warning, and a final warning before you can fire them. And in between the first, second, and last warnings, you must go through discussions with and a review of the said staff member.
The whole process can take months and months.
To a lot of bosses, it’s utterly energy sapping, time wasting, and totally ridiculous, but there’s no avoiding it. So if you were in this situation, what choice would you have, apart from feeling like a hostage to the system?