How COVID-19 has Improved Leadership

Rewind 12 months and no-one would have predicted the utter turmoil that has been caused by COVID-19.

How COVID-19 has Improved Leadership

Rewind 12 months and no-one would have predicted the utter turmoil that has been caused by COVID-19. 

With industries like Hospitality and retail aside, the majority of business owners now see no alternative but to push back and carry on despite accelerating case rates and new lockdown restrictions. 

However, it is this mentality, combined with the whole challenging experience of COVID-19, that has transformed the UK’s business owners into true leaders. Here’s why:

Fear of failure surpassed

It’s commonplace for all business owners to have feared failure at some point in their journey. Be that sheer trepidation over what would happen if you simply ‘lost it all’ or falling vastly behind on budget by losing 50% of your customers overnight. For millions of business owners, this level of ‘failure’ has been realised, and, for the majority, the reality is far less painful than what has been imagined.  

With failure comes the opportunity to learn, to grow as an individual and to hone your skillset as both a business owner and as a leader. For millions, COVID-19 will be the greatest lesson in business of all, forcing us to change direction, to recover lost revenue and create new and innovative ways of working, shaping our ability to lead and run a business for years to come.

The seas are rough… Only the best sailors will survive 

If your business can survive the COVID-19 pandemic, it can survive anything. 

Market competition is now fiercer than ever before, businesses are having to constantly adapt how, where and when they operate, and many entrepreneurs have been forced to completely transform their product or service offering to remain relevant and keep their business afloat. 

The harsh reality is, increasing numbers of workers are facing unemployment and an increasing number of organisations will have no choice but to close their doors for good. If you are one that stays open, you will have the unique opportunity to look back and understand the lessons that have been learnt, calling on these rough days at sea to continue to build a robust business both now and in the future.

Your team need guidance 

As the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, the majority of the UK workforce feared their jobs, as businesses lost revenue and increasing numbers were placed on the furlough scheme. 

This combined with working in isolation meant many employees simply needed guidance to get through the first lockdown, whether that was understanding how the business was working through the pandemic to confirm job security or reaching out for additional support due to the challenge of working alone.

Over the last 6 months, business owners would have advanced their leadership skills tenfold, both as a personal leader in guiding team members through this unprecedented period and as a business leader in working through the challenges of lost revenue, remote working and ‘pivoting’ existing products or services, demonstrating resilience, perseverance and growth.

Progress, don’t pause 

During the first wave of COVID-19, business owners divided into two clear camps: Those who ‘paused’ and analysed the impact of the pandemic and those who continued to push forwards and work through every single issue, despite the severity of the challenge ahead. The reality is those in the latter camp not only positioned themselves as resilient leaders but were likely to have experienced some form of financial recovery as lockdown measures originally lifted in June 2020. 

Now the second wave of COVID-19 is fully in flight, many business owners need to adopt the same strategy as those who pushed, fought back and continued to progress during the first wave of COVID-19. Not only will it enhance leadership skills, but it will ensure faster growth as the markets finally recover come 2021. 

Ultimately, no one foresaw the true challenge and despair that has been caused by COVID-19, but with every hardship comes the opportunity to learn, grow and develop. 2020 will certainly go down in history and, for the positive, it will showcase the success of the business leaders who stood strong and built bigger and better brands as a result.

Mark Wright
Mark Wright

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