Which of your leaders thrive post COVID, and why your staff need their leaders now more than ever?

By Eric Allgood

The world is starting to look post COVID. The big question is which Leaders will thrive post COVID-19, and who will fall victim of the ‘mass resignation’?

COVID-19 has worn most of us out mentally with the continued uncertainty of lockdowns, work stability, and contact with friends and family. Writing from Brisbane, I fully acknowledge that my personal experience into the depths of this has been tempered somewhat. However, and there are many who would be suffering the same, lockdowns prohibited me from seeing my father before he passed, or go to his funeral. Furthermore, I have witnessed the struggles of friends, family, clients, and colleagues across this country. Noting others that have lost loved ones, some to COVID-19 itself.

Recently I did a tour of Regional Southwest Queensland. I noted much of my mentoring and coaching was centred around the mental health and well-being of my clients. How they could manage their mental health and wellbeing, whilst doing the same for their staff.

How can you manage the mental health and wellb

Let me tell you about an American psychologist by the name of Abraham Maslow. Maslow hypothesised his famous hierarchy of needs in 1943, which states there are five levels of needs (see below). COVID-19 struck at the very heart of the first two levels, leaving many scared like they have never been before.

Here is the link to read for yourself (a little present to my fellow nerds).

mental health structure

People have been reacting to unfolding events in a manner that has made it almost impossible for business and government to predict. This feeling of uncertainty has obviously bred volatility and a loss of rationality (as seen in some of our supermarkets and in our streets). Not, however, comparable to the likes of the GFC, because this goes much deeper than financial vulnerability.

COVID19 has eroded the fundamental basic need to feel safe. The first two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy have been eroded, and substantially. It is very hard to progress to the feeling of being a part of something bigger when you only feel apart!

During the darkest times throughout history people have always looked for leadership. This need for leadership has resulted in very bad people being followed, because they offered leadership when others didn’t.

So what leaders do you have for people to follow?

What are the potential repercussions or benefits of them following those leaders?

If we don’t start thinking about that now, then the fabled ‘mass resignation’ will be more likely.

Remember, very few people leave a job, they leave their managers!

By now you will all have worked out how to function during lockdowns and restricted travel situations, the focus now shifts to what is next? How do we start heading back into everyone being present at the workplace? Do we even need to re-enter the office, or can we continue to work from home?

In truth, it really doesn’t matter which, either way, if it works for your business, it is fine. Your leaders who will thrive and survive are those who understand their teams need a sense of belonging and a sense of connection to their workplace (Maslow’s third level). Let’s be clear, you can be at different levels of the hierarchy depending upon the circumstance.

For example: I do know someone who regularly receives recognition within their industry but does not feel a sense of connection or belonging within their workplace.

Bouncing back from the GFC was almost hitting a consumer reset button. Coming back from COVID-19 won’t be as simple, the turmoil and disruption is different, very different. Nobody panic bought toilet paper during the GFC!!!

thriving as a leader in covid

The leaders that will thrive are the leaders with empathy, leaders who know how to guide and support, those who have patience, who know how to listen, and most importantly, those who give validation and acknowledgment. These are the leaders whose teams will recover and perform the best. Remember, most people don’t leave a job, they leave a poor leader!

Finally, my own personal word of advice from experience, having a sense of humour during tense times is very important. Not everything is funny, but there is funny in everything (I believe the comedian Charlie Breen said this during his amazing Taboo series), do not belittle anything, but create a lighter atmosphere.

Furthermore, in times of hardship and crisis, it has been proven that being generous and helping others helps people cope. I know this to be true which is why we are always supporting worthy causes. I have always said, I give because I am selfish, it makes me feel amazing, I feel as though I have made a difference, I feel my existence is justified.

Gratuitous plug: If you think either you or your leadership team might needs some brushing up on their skills, then contact us to discuss.