The disruption and devastation caused by the covid-19 pandemic has changed the world.
Not only has it claimed the lives of more than 5 million people around the world, but it has also severely hurt the global economy.
Thousands of companies have gone bankrupt and employees are unmotivated, with nearly four in 10 feeling less motivated at work since the pandemic.
There has been a decline in productivity for most businesses, with the sectors that involve the most social contact bearing the brunt.
I recently wrote about the skills that effective leaders must possess.
These have never been more relevant, especially now that we need strong leadership to guide us through recovery after the pandemic.
Here are four key skills that are crucial to helping make that happen.
1. Be empathic
Effective leaders need to understand the feelings, motivations, and emotions of others, especially the people who work for them.
Empathy with employees is essential now that many people are facing various challenges such as anxiety, stress and adjusting to new working conditions and declining income.
Leaders must show that they are human.
A good example is Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain with a workforce of about 121,000 people.
Marriott’s revenue saw a drastic decline at the start of the pandemic.
Sorenson recorded a video message, which has since gone viral, expressing compassion for the employees and their families, assuring them that things would get better.
At the time he was being treated for pancreatic cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, but this did not stop him from showing empathy or leadership.
This act of compassionate leadership is what separates the good from the great leaders during a crisis.
2. Be decisive
The pandemic made it imperative that business leaders act quickly.
Situations can change quickly and successful companies are those that can quickly respond and adapt to change.
Good leaders must be determined and not averse to taking risks . They must be able to identify, assess and assess risks while making difficult decisions.
Resources during the pandemic were limited, so it was important for leaders to take a logical and analytical approach to ensure decisions were made not only quickly, but thoughtfully.
Amazon came out of the pandemic stronger compared to other companies because of the decisions Jeff Bezos made early on.
As people were confined to their homes due to movement restrictions, Bezos recruited an additional 175,000 employees and increased wages by $2.60 an hour, knowing that the pandemic was going to have a drastic impact on the supply chain and the jobs.
This was instrumental in helping to boost Amazon’s profits during the pandemic. Which leads to the next rule.
3. Recognize and take advantage of opportunities
The pandemic was also a period that saw a huge jump in new and existing opportunities.
The ability to recognize them in a crisis is vital.
Leaders must be aggressive catalysts and identify opportunities where others see chaos, confusion, and problems.
These opportunities range from expanding into emerging markets to selling new products and adapting existing services, such as restaurants converting to takeout.
Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom, is a classic example of a leader who was able to recognize and seize the opportunities that arose as a result of covid.
The pandemic caused an abrupt shift towards remote work for many companies around the world.
This transformed Zoom into a global brand during the pandemic.
Earnings in 2020 soared to $186 million, while customer growth increased by 458% compared to 2019.
Yuan identified that success would hinge on the company’s ability to attract big-spending corporations to Zoom, as well as people who simply use it for free.
Zoom’s CEO is well aware that the future has changed, and regardless of how the post-pandemic world unfolds, remote work will be a fixture.
Great leaders know the importance of this skill and are often prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
4. Build effective teams
Leadership is about influencing and motivating people.
Leaders must promote teamwork and foster team spirit to ensure that their staff cooperate and collaborate to work together effectively.
To do this, employees must trust those in charge.
Leaders must be role models who lead by example; Employees learn a lot from good leaders, especially in tough times .
Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, faced an extremely difficult and tragic situation in March 2015 when a suicidal pilot deliberately crashed his plane, killing 150 passengers.
During this crisis, Spohr showed honesty and took responsibility.
This inspired and impressed their employees and helped build a culture of trust within the organization after such a devastating event.
To develop these skills, mentoring and personal growth activities are important.
Leadership is a personal journey and business leaders must commit to developing their own skills.
No one is perfect or has all the answers, but good leaders don’t have to be afraid of failing .
They must show that life goes on and can get better after failure, if lessons are learned, however painful.
Like anything, strong and effective leadership requires practice.