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Cultivating Leadership during COVID time

Updated: Aug 2, 2022

By: Gurpreet Singh Kapoor, An ICT & IT contributor

Going through business posts on social media & the interviews of so called veterans in apex leadership who went missing in early few months of May-June 2020, grappling themselves personally & professionally with the unwarranted and inexperienced situation, we must have evidenced that COVID crisis has exposed out one striking attribute of a leader – The Character. You can’t dress a mare into a horse for long. This COVID crisis has strike out many such mares within corporate at senior levels & will continue till end of this financial year. The leader is not a leader by designation, but by the character he possess. The ability to hide & stay defunct under the curb of uncertainty has been exposed within last 6 months. The leaders with true ability to lead, motivate in these unprecedented times came only from those who possess the internal strength in character. Inherently a leader has to be self-starter, passionate and optimistic in “any situation”, you can’t develop it suddenly.

One need to evaluate if one has it or not, continuously at many if not all instances – the instance with nothing to the instance of abundance.

That ranking of that evaluation will give the internal strength & conviction in character.

Not everyone has that, but:

a. Develop if you don’t have

b. Increase if you have little

c. Have thankfulness if it’s in abundance

There is no benchmark criterion of measuring the Character, but your level of risk taking, self-starter, passion & valour in your initiatives will indicate you intrinsically.

But mean it – Your true CHARACTER will determine your path from approach to success!!

Stock of situation - You may have to re-visit your high level goals as per the changing fragile scenario of COVID which is going to stay & at least leaves its positive residues which are like blessings in disguise for corporate shunting their Opex & capital expense to a significant proportion. Client’s business models are getting reinvented with the changes in the pattern of thinking, behavior & action of consumers, employees, vendors & competitors and Indian service sector corporate have to tune or calibrate, their high level goals/strategies accordingly. Harvard Business School (HBS) reported that companies which offer true partnership with clients through empathy, truthfulness, helpfulness and agility will take edge over others and take lead once situation becomes normal. So one need to calibrate your approach towards your customer – extend your helpful & feeling of family to them.

Set your basics right - The biggest learning in this crisis is to unlearn lot of our basics & inherent stuff. Our bias towards way we think & behave. It looked like this was an endeavor to cleanse the society & nature at large. The first time mankind thought of all right things from keeping physical distance to personal hygiene, to walking, exercising, to eating at home, to have understanding, respect & empathy for front line workers, to no religious fights, to no-polluting air, no deafening noise of honking. Everything was stopped & rebooted. It was truly a sign of relief for many like me, who hates unnecessary fluff in our daily lives. The leaders need to unlearn & go back to basics and the crisis has given lot of learning, like:

  • Meritocracy taking over nepotism – The person who knows the work is granted the work. Favoritism & nepotism in corporate have no place anymore. So leaders need to appreciate this resultant nectar after the sagar-manthan that keep the meritocracy as paramount in your teams.

  • Set the context right: Be naked – Share the real situation with your team and ask for help, rather than bluffing them with usual tactics. Each member of your team will be happy if they see a genuine leader. On the other hand, the disgusted employees must be aware that if they lose their jobs, they may not get it in next 6-9 months, so both employee & employer have to share the bond of truthfulness, openness, empathy & helpfulness.

  • New ground rules: New mindset – This is the opportunity to shed your inhibitions and boundaries of unnecessary fluff. New rules of the game suggests everyone to:

    • Take care of health & safety (exercise, healthy food, precautions but not fear)

    • Keep yourself engaged (work, family & friends)

    • Communications (candid, positive and empathetic)

This is a change of era – where our thought process, culture, business models eventually the whole paradigm is getting changed. The early we accept & adapt, the early we will ride over.

By: Gurpreet Singh Kapoor, PMP, ITIL, MBA

Disclaimer: Kindly note that all articles have been submitted by members in their individual capacity.

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