3 Ways To Lead Through The Coronavirus Crisis

Prof. Ben Laker

We are facing unprecedented times. The coronavirus COVID-19 has ended 50,000 lives worldwide - including 13,000 in Italy, 10,000 in Spain, and 5,000 here in America. Globally, 950,000 cases of infection exist, of which 210,000 are American, 10,000 are Italian and 105,000 are Spanish.

The current worldwide events are unlike much we have ever experienced or could have imagined - resulting in the UN calling for a $2.5tn aid package to help developing countries, including debt cancellation and a health recovery plan. During these bleak times, it is vital to remember that a crisis doesn’t make us, but rather, reveal us. And so, leaders should recognize that we are entering a period of inner-growth. During this, we will learn a lot about ourselves, people immediately around us, and those we collaborate with.

This view is consistent with the work of Drew Povey. He’s a leading authority on leadership who’s devised a new framework to help executives navigate through the current crisis and communicate simply with their teams. The central underpinning theme of this framework is positive awareness - one of the vital survival techniques in these times, which also enables us to address the three core elements of Povey’s model, explored further below.

1) Acceptance

We’ve all heard the sayings, “It is what it is” or “We are where we are.” As glib as these can sometimes appear when we stop and think about them, they are quite salient. We must be clear about what we can and can’t control. As humans, we like to be able to manage things; however, as uncertainty increases, our ability to control decreases. The result of this is that our levels of anxiety, worry, and fear rise exponentially concludes Povey. It is essential to focus on what we can control; control the controllable. And the things over which we have no control? Let them go.

2) Adaptation

Once we have accepted our circumstances, we need to adapt to our new reality. Thus, we need to adjust our way to success, which is crucial during a crisis because things will have to change, and adjustments will almost certainly be required. Some people will need to adjust more than others argues Povey. But how do we know what the right personal changes are for us? Well, Povey suggests experimentation is critical - because the trial and error process enables us to understand what’s needed and what works. Then, and only then can we effectively adapt. Central to this are two key aspects. We must change and shift the way we think about our lives, or our business (or ideally both). Once we have, we can adapt and change the way we act. This altering of our practice, both mentally and physically, will define us through these times, according to Povey. Thus, being shocked into a trance or retreating to a safe place won’t cut it in during this or any crisis. We must lead, he urges. Whether a fully operating publicly listed company, a furloughed workforce, a locked-down sports team, school, or your family – this is courageous leadership in action, and doing what we’ve always done isn’t going to get us through this believes Povey. Subsequently, we need to be bold, and adapt

3) Ambition

Just because we are in a crisis, doesn’t mean our standards should slip - because we get what we tolerate. We need this ambition and belief that we will get through these times and come out on the other side. Our purpose should coexist with aspiration and drive us to be the very best that we can be. We are leading people through this crisis suggests Povey, and as Napoleon said, “Leaders are dealers in hope.” Whatever our values and behaviors, they are never going to be as important to us as they are now in giving hope to those around us. No matter what, keep both your expectations and standards high.

View the original article on Forbes here.