The Inner Work of a Leader in this Time of Crisis

What do businesses and business leaders need to consider, to carry their businesses through the economic storm? It seems the consensus is that some of the key elements include:

  • Strengthening the resilience and agility of the organisation
  • Customer retention
  • Increasing market confidence/interest in your offering – best done through evidence-based publicity
  • Staff retention and flattening the curve within the organisation
  • Maintaining staff/team buy-in
  • Going digital with your operations

The findings in C4G’s recently published white paper on The Impact of COVID-19 on SMMEs Operations affirms many of these key areas

While the global economic environment has us all abuzz on issues of business survival, markets, revenue and the likes, I have missed hearing about some of the most fundamental principles governing success, whether within or outside of the business environment.

Getting leadership Right

One of the key contributors to success is good and right leadership. These are not necessarily the same thing. Sometimes an initiative has potential but the leader(ship) is a bad fit. Sometimes the leadership is of good quality, but the initiative is not a good one. At other times the leadership is just poor. Perhaps the initiative and the leadership are good but, the environment does not need them. Maybe both need an overhaul.

Self-leadership, team-leadership and content-leadership are separate but highly related and critical elements of leadership that require special attention, especially in such times as these. Understanding our trajectory requires some sincere introspection – the ability to honestly gauge and realistically position oneself in a manner that is beneficial to the cause.

Anyone can learn the principles or obtain the skills deemed necessary for “good” leadership practices, but the true core of leadership is in the heart and mind of a leader, I call it “mindset and heart-set”.

You may have heard the saying:” You cannot give what you do not have”. Many a leader has failed not because of a lack of potential, but due to a lack of alignment between what is in them and what is needed from them.

Leaders are people

Adding to the world’s woes right now, is the increase in conditions such as depression, and leaders, being human, are not immune to this. In fact, leaders might be amongst the majority seeing as they usually have a heavier load on their shoulders.

According to some very recent analysis done in the US, depression amongst their population, has risen from 37% in 2006 to 49% as at April 2020. This is largely being attributed to people’s fear and anxiety regarding the direct harm potentially or already posed by the pandemic.

By default, this sample will contain people who are leaders in one context or another, some are leading families, some are leading institutions, some are leading causes. Some, like all the fire-facing presidents around the world, are leading whole countries – under great scrutiny and dependency of the public. The threat of failure or demise in any of these areas is very real to most people.

It is clear that we need to remove the veil and be gravely honest with ourselves. Honest about where we are, where we need to go and how we will  get there. These are most critical questions for all leaders, more so when the livelihoods of others depend on it.

“The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis.” – Brian Tracy

“Bad Leadership is an oxymoron” – Jospeh C Rost

Nomsa Langa

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