Well, we’ve all been through the mill over the last few weeks with the Covid-19 pandemic, managing huge amounts of change in both our professional and personal lives, trying to keep businesses afloat, some working whilst home schooling their children and surviving without seeing our friends and family. We’re now seeing lockdown exit plans emerging, so hopefully there is light at the end of the tunnel, although perhaps a long way to go until we return to whatever the “new normal” might be.
And what is “really important” (as Dr Brink would say!) in any period of significant change is the leaders who take you through it. So, what makes a great leader during a challenging period? If we look at Deputies St Pier and Soulsby and Dr Brink, then I would say that communication and transparency are key. Keeping people informed gives them the strength and knowledge so that they feel better armed to deal with whatever the world might throw at them. I’m sure we would all agree that having those 3 confident, knowledgeable and inspiring leaders at our helm to manage this awful pandemic situation and carry our Island through to better times has been a great comfort to us all. Guernsey is extremely fortunate to have so much information provided to the public on a regular basis.
If we look at our working lives, do you feel that your bosses have helped you through this difficult time in whatever way you require? Have they been there for you to give you confidence that we’ll come out the other side unscathed, to keep you informed at every stage, answer your questions and help you with your own particular needs during this period? We’re all different, so being a flexible manager who can adapt to every situation and people’s varying requirements and characteristics is also important. If you’ve been furloughed or your wages have been reduced, did the leaders at your organisation explain why it was necessary and what they’re doing to get the business back on track? Has communication from the top been strong?
On a more personal note, feeling that you are part of a close team and a strong support network, whether that be your work colleagues, family or friends, is also vital in challenging times. Do you have someone you can talk to, confide in and discuss any problems with? Someone who will help lead you to a solution? A problem shared is a problem halved as they say.
So being a strong leader during a challenging period isn’t just about being a good staff manager, it involves communicating regularly and honestly, being there for your people as individuals and ensuring that the team spirit prevails.
If you’d like some advice on how to be a great leader through this difficult time, check out the Chartered Management Institute’s “Better Managers Manual – Managing The New Normal” - https://www.managers.org.uk/insights/leading-through-uncertainty