The pandemic was a strange experience, and we navigated through it to the best of our ability. All organizations are finally being forced to embrace technology and digitalization to keep going. The new normal where people were working from home including for the job processes where they thought that remote work is not possible. All over the globe, every company has experienced some type of disruption. There were changes to be made, skills and technology to be learned to make sure that the work did not stop. New ways to communicate and coordinate were found. Management too had to learn a few things to manage remote employees. Working remotely was not easy as the way we worked, planned, and strategized for work was not possible. The changes we faced made us find new ways to achieve our goals while being flexible and open to our options people managed to maintain productivity.
As situations are getting better and lockdowns are being lifted all over the world, we are looking at a newer normal now. Things can’t really go back to as they were before the arrival of COVID-19. The pandemic has changed a lot for companies as well as their employees. We are getting acclimatized to the post-pandemic world, we realize that we cannot expect people to get back to their desks at full capacity and work the same way as before. Similarly, post-pandemic leadership has to be different from what we needed prior to and during the lockdown. If institutions want to maintain and increase their productivity, they need to work on post-pandemic leadership development for better performance. The traditional equation between the employer and the staff has changed. The way day jobs or institutions are seen has also gone through a transformation. In this article, we will discuss how post-pandemic leadership skills have evolved and what all does that asks the managers.
Trust is an important element when it comes to leadership. We needed more of it while people were in lockdown, and we still need it to strengthen our leadership. Staff want leaders that they can trust, and that comes when managers have a similar level of trust in their team too. It’s actions that help to build trust, and mere words are not enough to show that someone is trustworthy or not. Now, leaders need to make sure that team members understand that they are valued and cared for. Leaders today have to keep their distance from ambiguity and office politics. Trust does not go along with these things. There were many new challenges that teams faced during the pandemic, and it took good old team spirit and communication to resolve them. The post-pandemic setup, which is mostly remote or hybrid work structures, has its own issues. The leadership needs to gain the trust of employees to get them to voice issues. The trust makes it easy to get support and coordinate in day to day challenges so it does not become a full-blown disaster.
We no longer carry the traditional rigidity in organizations like we used to before the pandemic. Agility is now a need of time. Those business leaders who are not quick to adapt to changes are likely to face losses in post-pandemic arrangements too. External forces have to be considered as they drastically affect the business. Ignoring what is happening around you does not stop it from affecting the company. Leaders need to be responsive and think quickly to solve problems. Make the necessary changes and adapt to the new reality. Models we clung to for decades are of no use now. Leaders need to figure out what works best for productivity today. The ability to think quickly and make decisions is a valued quality in the workplace, but with the pace at which we are facing changes in the business and work environment, we now value it even more. Adaptability has a survival value. It is the skill that kept many organizations afloat during the pandemic. To make the organization agile, leadership has to demonstrate quick adaption that employees can pick up on. Agility not only helps you survive but are most likely to help you thrive in a post-pandemic setting.
Teams are likely to turn to their managers when they are dealing with some issue. It is important for leaders to have empathy towards the employees for them to have trust and respect. Though things seem much better than they were before, we are still surrounded by uncertainty. While managing remote employees empathy is a must. We do not know what new variant is waiting to make an appearance. The uncertainty may be here to stay much longer than we think. Most of the companies have now adopted a hybrid work culture. When team members witness empathy for their situation from the leader they feel more valued and connected impacting employee loyalty. We are facing The Great Resignation, the talent market is dealing with fierce competition. The post-pandemic have many such challenges and the simple quality of empathy has made leaders more evolved and valuable for this time. It quickly slips into the behaviour of other team members and leads to better coordination and faster efforts to resolve the issues.
Humans are social creatures and value emotional bonds, even in professional spaces where we don’t always realize it or admit it. Better emotional support strengthens workplace relationships and boosts productivity. Leaders need to pick up the habit of enquiring about the well-being of the team because it matters more than it appears to be. Having empathy creates a comfortable and friendly environment where it is easy for creativity to grow. People feel motivated to do their best and take more initiatives for improvement. Empathetic and compassionate leaders make people feel safer to take risks, and after a pandemic, that is very valuable when we need more innovation at work for changes.
The discussion of leadership would not be complete without the prime element of communication. Good communication skills help in various aspects of leadership, may it be building trust or expressing empathy and compassion. Communication makes processes flow better. We see finer displays of coordination from the employees when leadership carries out the necessary communication successfully. The message to the team has to be composed of all the important details and bring clarity to the goals and objectives of the company. Ambiguity and uncertainty can be really stressful for employees, and that impacts productivity. Clarity helps to get better support. Explaining the reasons behind the management decisions really helps people to put things into perspective and they are likely to feel less resistance towards some unavoidable changes. The right communication from the manager strengthens the connection as a team and get better team performance from the group of individuals.
Similar to the period of pandemic lockdown, the post-pandemic situation needs a different approach from the leadership. We can’t simply go back to a pre-pandemic culture. A lot has changed, and that needs to be handled with care. We need to adapt to the changes and thrive in the new setting. Uncertainty is still there, and it may stay longer than we are able to estimate. Most of the workforce is still working in remote or hybrid structures. Here, we need leaders with empathy and compassion to provide the necessary support to the team to survive and thrive. Managers need to be agile. We need a quick response and faster thinking to find solutions to problems as soon as possible. Communication and transparency help to build the necessary support, which nurtures the trust that people need to work as a team. Good post-pandemic leadership is expected to make their team feel safe to take risks and innovate for the growth of the company. Post-pandemic leadership takes a more human approach towards employees to achieve the goals and objectives of their organization.
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