Leading in the midst of a pandemic

leadership in a pandemic

Do you see a crisis as a burden or an opportunity? Can you be a real leader when facing a critical situation? Strong leadership is not demonstrated simply by driving people towards a goal, but by showing the courage to lead. By being adaptable, by showing readiness for discussion with your co-workers, by taking time and talking to them. This is the only possible way of effectively leading in a pandemic.

Leadership in times of crises

A crisis reveals both dysfunctionalities but also strengths. Despite the “fight or flight” response that might be the initial reaction in such situations, a crisis is a perfect time to reflect on the group’s mindset; on its aims, purpose, and how to adapt to the new reality.

How can a leader still be able to manage time, setting goals, motivating co-workers, and handle the usual conflicts when dealing with the unpredictable?

Keeping motivation up in the face of isolation, frustration, and insecurity is certainly no easy task, neither for coworkers nor for leaders themselves. Here is the challenge: how can leaders be receptive, stable and courageous in the face of their own anxiety, frustration and outside pressure?

Leaders need to be able to recognize their own responsibility and learn how to deal with their own stress first. It is normal and acceptable to feel like this. This is both a matter of self-compassion and self-care. It is only then that leaders can be authentic and compassionate in reaction to the challenges of their coworkers. Undertaking research is always an uncertain endeavour but with the pandemic, the lack of control sensation is even stronger. How can we regain control over the situation? 

  1. Acquaint yourself with your emotional state. Be patient and understanding with yourself. Talk with trusted friends, colleagues, your professional coach. Seek  professional support. 
  2. Readjust your goals. Evaluate what you can realistically achieve in the given circumstances. Start planning ahead: What can be done when resuming functionality after the lockdown. How can you get ready for the initial times after re-opening?
  3. Be open. Include your team in the planning process. Use your people’s intelligence and creativity. Share your views, listen to theirs. This is beneficial for two reasons: on the one hand, it motivates your people by giving them purpose, ownership, and social interaction, and on the other, in consequence, you will achieve better results!

“Leadership is not only about leading others but also leading oneself”

Sašo Kočevar

At hfp consulting we believe that leadership can be educated and have a specific program aimed at fostering the necessary skills to become a good leader. Through our interactive workshops, (future) leaders in science can prepare themselves to deal with the challenges of their position.

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