Leading positive change throughout the COVID-19 pandemic


All over the world, people are having their lives turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s an uncertain time for so many and it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives. Like every situation — good or bad — the circumstance we find ourselves in, while unique, has plenty of opportunities for focusing on the positives and seeing teams at their best. 

There are opportunities for great leadership … 

Lead with compassion — difficult decisions are being made by leaders all over the world at this time, most often resulting in redundancy or pay cuts. It’s not easy to break that news to a valued member of the team, but it is easy to show compassion, to offer up any assistance you are in a position to provide and to say goodbye on a good note. 

Communicate clearly — these are uncertain times for everyone. Decisions are being made daily so it’s not always easy to plan ahead. Make sure you are giving your team the facts regularly so there’s less frustration. You are in a position to provide information, so ensure you are communicating that information clearly, regularly and simply. 

Lead with trust — many organisations have made the transition to working from home. Most of your team members will now be working alongside their partners or children who may require simultaneous homeschooling. Trust your team to get the work done in the way that suits them with the new situation they find themselves in. 

Think ahead — now is not the time to be having a narrow view of your organisation or your team. Things aren’t going to be easy for quite some time; whether the uncertainty will last weeks or months is difficult for anyone to know. Concessions may need to be made in the short term but be sure to have a long-term view of how your team and organisation will operate. Be sure to communicate that vision to your team. 

What’s the legacy that COVID-19 will leave behind? 

Organisations have needed to adapt rapidly to the situation that has unfolded over the last few weeks. Schools, in particular, have had to take charge of online learning. It’s been a hurdle for many but as they go forward and once COVID-19 is a distant memory, schools all over the country, and the world, will now have great frameworks in place to support the education of any students who need to spend an extended amount of time away from school. It may not have been a planned development but it is a necessary one, and the ripple effects will be felt for many years to come. 

Your organisation has likely already adapted to the situation and there’ll be plenty more adapting in the near future, that much is certain. Instead of focusing on negative outcomes of the situation we find ourselves in, ask yourself the following questions to see how you can use this experience as a learning opportunity for your organisation: 

  • What hasn’t worked? Where are the frustrations from your team and what do you wish could have been done differently? 
  • What has worked? No situation is all doom and gloom; which decisions have had a great outcome under the circumstances and how would you apply the same approach to future decisions? 
  • Has your communication been clear? What are the questions your team are asking the most? Have they needed clarification regularly? Use the pain points to work on refining your communication plan. 
  • How have you adapted? What have you changed in order to survive? Have you found new ways of working that are more efficient? 

Everybody has been thrown in the deep end, even the biggest organisations in the world are struggling to keep their heads above water. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t space for innovation or space to adapt and come out with better ways of working, better communication plans and a stronger sense of what brings your team together.

If you are leading your team through the COVID-19 crisis, People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.