It’s hard to believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is still happening. Businesses are still shuttered. Some have only recently reopened. Others have chosen to defy orders from various government agencies and reopened.
It’s a crazy time. It’s also real.
We’re experiencing something none of us ever expect to experience. Here we are, though, over a year into the global pandemic.
It’s hard to think of everything that has been lost. Businesses permanently closed. Families struggling. Churches wondering what to do.
Through all of the chaos, there are good things that have come out of COVID and the pandemic. We only have to look and try to find them.
Today, I want to share 6 things leaders can learn from COVID-19 and how you can use these things to be a better leader.
6 Things Leaders Can Learn From COVID-19 And The Pandemic
1. Everyone will react differently:
We’ve all seen various reactions from the people we know and love. Their reactions have ranged from grief to anger to frustration to disbelief.
I’ve seen this prominently in the church world. Many church attendees are unwilling to admit COVID-19 is real. They believe if they do what is recommended, they are bowing to someone or something other than God.
Then there are the people who believe COVID-19 is the end of the world. You have to protect yourself and never step foot outside again.
Both cases are extremes. Both are real reactions.
In leadership, people will have strong reactions that can vary from person to person. They will hold strong and fast to their beliefs and be unwilling to change.
Leaders have to understand how to deal with people when their views and reactions are so different from their own.
2. Organizational policies have to be rethought:
Health agencies encouraged quarantine periods for people who had been exposed to someone that tested positive for COVID-19. The quarantine periods were 14 days.
Fourteen days is a lot of time off from work. It’s also more time off than a lot people had stored up in vacation time.
What’s an organization to do when a team member has to be quarantined? What happens when people cannot come into work for an extended period of time and the organization’s policies state that they are to terminate an employee?
This is why organizational policies and procedures have to be well-thought-out and flexible.
Organizational policies make it easy to see what is right or what is wrong. Until the line becomes blurred.
Be willing to rethink your policies. Be willing to be flexible on your policies.
3. People CAN work from home:
A huge shift happened because of COVID-19. Many people transitioned from working in a traditional office and moved to working at home.
Churches have done this. Health care organizations have allowed for this. Manufacturing offices have even gotten in on the work from home thing.
This is going to be a major transition for organizations.
Many employers will want their team members back in the office full-time. Many employees will want to continue working from home, if not full-time at least part-time.
Organizational leaders are going to have to work to figure out a solution to this conundrum. Will they allow their people to work from home? Will they force their people to come into the office? Or is there some middle ground?
My suggestion is to find the middle ground. If your people can work well from home, allow them to continue to do so at least part-time. This gives your people a little freedom while allowing them to enjoy many benefits of working from home.
4. Communication is vital:
The organizations that have strived through the pandemic have been the ones who have continued to communicate with their people. They didn’t stop communicating because their business had to be temporarily closed or people had to work from home.
No… these organizations realized they needed to communicate. Sometimes, they had to overcommunicate.
When things get back to more normal, don’t let this lesson fall away. Keep communicating. Keep connected.
You may find a weekly or monthly newsletter helps the team stay connected. You may continue with Zoom or Teams meetings.
Communication is vital to your success and the well-being of your people.
5. People appreciate honesty:
COVID-19 has not only struck the lowest on the organizational totem pole but COVID-19 has also infected those in the highest levels of organizations. Sometimes, people don’t understand this. They feel like the higher up you go, the less you are impacted by pandemics and life situations.
That’s just not true.
Everyone is affected by disease, death, family issues, and more.
We have the opportunity to be honest with our team members. We can show the people we lead that we struggle with similar issues they do.
Be honest with your people. If you get COVID-19, don’t hide it. Share your experience.
This may even allow your team members to open up to you. They may begin to share their experience with this virus with people in the organization.
You will be surprised how far this reaches and how much people need to know they’re not alone in this.
6. We can get through tough situations:
Whether or not your organization makes it through the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t matter. I don’t mean this in a negative way. Organizations come and go. One day every organization will be extinct.
Regardless of whether or not your organization makes it through COVID-19, you can make it through. You can continue to be the leader you were created to be. You can make it through.
Don’t give up because things are hard. Don’t give up because your organization closed its doors.
What matters is that you don’t give up. You continue to fight. You continue to lead.
We can get through this.