Business leaders face a rapidly changing, new world as they head back to work. And, I am not talking about social distancing, face mask discussions or hand washing.
The rapidly changing world of leadership is driven by the increasing expectations of our workforce.
COVID-19 has changed the landscape of leadership. Employees now expect that employers and particularly their leaders have ownership of their work environment, safety and security.
Prior to the pandemic, leaders were focused on tasking, encouraging, reviewing and performance with their teams. It was easy to set up weekly meetings, sit in the conference room or office, and work through issues.
After the pandemic and with our return to work, leaders are now faced with more challenging issues:
1. Who should be in the office and when?
2. How will progress be reviewed, in person or through a digital tool like Zoom?
3. How can leaders build brand equity with employees with limited interaction?
4. What will be the impact on company culture?
5. When will life return to normal?
6. Is the workplace necessary, safe, and acceptable to employees?
It is very possible that leadership has never faced the breath of decisions and issues that are ahead of us in the next six months. How can we succeed? I offer a few points for consideration.
- Begin with a commitment to transparency and open discussion with your employees. Share your concerns, your thoughts, and your point of view.
- Trust you employees to do the right thing when they work from home.
- Establish clear expectations for their work products and their productivity.
- Be prepared to change your mind based on external factors.
- And put safety first in all your planning as you return to work.
If you following these five simple steps, employees will appreciate your leadership and gain confidence in your caring not only about the business; but more importantly, about them.
Gregory D. Cessna is the CEO of Consumer Fresh Produce, an innovative distributor of fresh, high-quality produce, Consumer Fresh Produce is a leader in produce supply chain management. Greg has led publicly traded and privately held companies for 30 years, including successfully completing 15 strategic acquisitions and mergers. In 2005, he founded Northbound Consulting to coach and mentor family business leaders in succession planning, strategy and business analytics.