6 Things Leaders Can Learn From COVID-19 And The Pandemic

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.

Ocean waves

Photo by Nick Martin on Unsplash

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.

What Doesn’t Matter In A Crisis

There are so many things we think matter that don’t. We discover what truly matters in a crisis.

I hope you’re discovering what matters and what doesn’t matter throughout this crisis. I have.

iPhone on a red background

Photo by Brian McGowan

You may be shocked at what I’m about to share. These may seem like things that should matter. In the end, they really don’t.

These are vanity metrics. Things we want to matter. Things we think should matter. But they don’t.

What Doesn’t Matter In A Crisis

We can’t get caught up in things that don’t matter. Especially during a crisis. Yet it’s a common pitfall for leaders.

We find ourselves staring at or propping up all sorts of vanity. All sorts of things that don’t matter.

Things like:

Titles –

We love our titles. I’ve seen titles ranging from Vice President Of Sales And Operational Excellence to Galactic Viceroy of Research Excellence.

How To Determine If A Crisis Is Really A Crisis

As the COVID-19 crisis hit the world, very few leaders thought this viral outbreak would be as big as it is. Many leaders thought it would come and go.

COVID-19 hasn’t come and gone. It’s left businesses, non-profits, and families in ruins.

Not all crises are the same. Not all crises demand economies be shut down or economies ruined. Some you can get through battered and bruised but none-the-worse. Others, like COVID-19, demanded a sterner approach. One that has hurt many people. An approach that continues to hurt people.

Boy with a mask and backpack on walking through a field

Photo via Jan Kopriva

But how do we decide if a crisis is really a crisis or a momentary blip on the radar? How do we know whether to react swiftly or to drift through a crisis?

These are tough decisions to make. You make the wrong one and your organization could be underwater.

Why Many Leaders Failed To Prepare For The COVID-19 Crisis

We never know when a crisis will hit. Something that will rock us to the core. Something that may even shutter the doors of our organization.

COVID-19 showed us how ill-prepared many businesses were when it comes to a time of crisis.

Woman looking down in a black and white photo

Photo by Ewelina Karezona Karbowiak

During the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen business leaders scramble to create a plan. To save their businesses. To help their team members.

There was no crisis plan in place. There was nothing to help leaders navigate through the coming crisis. For many, the crisis blindsided them.

The question that now has to be asked is: Why did so many leaders fail to prepare for the COVID-19 (or any) crisis?

Why Many Leaders Failed To Prepare For The COVID-19 Crisis

I’ve sought out the answer to this question. I’ve studied what other leaders have said about preparing for crisis. And I’ve asked those I respect their opinion on this topic.

Thinking Small To Lead Through A Crisis

Bang! A crisis hits and your mind begins to race with the possibilities.

You try to run through every possible outcome in your mind. Most of them ending in disaster. Then there’s the master plan. The one that has all its ducks in a row and you come out with your hands raised high like Rocky.

In your mind, you have all of the plans in place. Each piece fits perfectly.

Man sitting on a concrete bench

Photo by Matthew Henry

Yet, in real life, we know this rarely works. Our big picture planning for a crisis leads us to despair and depression.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a better way to lead through the crisis than having all of the answers. I want to suggest we think small to lead through a crisis.