How leaders can cope with the pandemic in 2022

Leadership in pandemic

End of the year thoughts

Just when we were all feeling that the worst of the covid-19 nightmare was behind us, lo-behold, Omicron shows up!! As we near the end of 2021, we are once again thinking about new beginnings and resolutions for 2022. It is also a good time to stop and think about how to handle leadership considering these uncertain times.

In the last couple of years, leaders certainly have had their hands full…be it managing work or managing people. Though this is also related to crisis management, the pandemic has shown us to expect the unexpected in multiple ways. A couple of years ago, leaders were focused on driving revenue, fostering innovation and also gaining market share. Post the pandemic, many have had to make rapid decisions about cost and also deliberate on how to maintain liquidity. Supply chain issues, manpower shortages, shortage of goods, operational challenges due to restrictions and other unforeseen roadblocks have radically altered the roles of leaders today. Managing virtual teams has changed the concept of teams itself dramatically. All this is while they are themselves working remotely and managing their own health and safety.

We took for granted going out, travelling, walking in the park, sending the children to school…well, everything is disrupted. The minute things started getting better, we saw the ‘second wave’ and other ‘variants’ threatening to bring it all to a standstill all over again!  

Here are some thoughts that I have been reiterating during these times that I still hold on to. I will call them my end of the year thoughts!  

Staying calm

This is easier said than done when businesses are shutting down and people are losing jobs, however, as a leader, one has no choice but to stay calm during a crisis. We have no choice but to stay positive! What you do largely determines the mood of your entire team. It is therefore your duty as a leader to inspire the people who work with you and ensure that they do not worry unnecessarily by showing the necessary empathy.

Ability to Adapt

The only thing certain today is the uncertainty!! A leader should have the ability to adapt quickly according to what the current situation demands. This must be the case not only in handling businesses but also while managing people.  One must stay sensitive and flexible to the needs of their people and cannot be rigid about their ideas.

Communication with Clarity

Honest depictions of the situation without including the drama aspect often works wonders for leaders. Your employees are adults and deserve to know the truth. Whereas staying calm is a necessity, hiding the truth may not be the best way to handle a crisis. Communication here also includes constant updates about policy changes in the company, work from home options, back to work plans etc.

Growth and development

Your employees are giving their best years of their work life to you. The pandemic does not mean that everything stops. They deserve feedback, growth, reviews and trainings and as a leader one must ensure there is no pause in their development these years.

Hype and fact

Media is focused on TRP and the non-stop adverse coverage on covid is astounding, even though we have so much more information about it compared to two years ago. The negativity it creates is sometimes as damaging as the virus itself. Social media is a huge source of fake news and is another killer!! As a leader, one must be able to differentiate between what is a hype and what is the fact.

Taking Calculated Risks

With all the noise around us, it is sometime hard for leaders to make sound decisions. Health is such an important aspect and people are so much more important, as leaders we have to balance the needs of the teams and the organization. We must make informed and educated decisions rather than succumbing to rumors and hype.

Getting back to physical work, travel, business as usual etc. all seem uncertain as of now. As leaders, it is crucial to ensure the safety of employees while making these decisions. However, one must also remember that this is a virus that is not going away anytime soon. Vaccination and exposure seem to have considerably protected most parts of the globe and we may have to live with new variants and mild disease for some time to come. Life must go on! Work must go on! We must reach a middle ground and learn to live with this and 2022 is no exception.  

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