With the Coronavirus pandemic, we are experiencing something in our lifetime that has never been seen before. No one can act as an expert right now or oracle and tell anyone what is going to happen next, or even within the next hour. Nothing is certain right now anywhere, but in times of uncertainty, it’s important to be a leader.
Being a leader can encompass many things but one thing is for sure, you need to stay current with the times and always be brushing up on your skills. Here at Influencive we recently partnered with Athabasca University to take a new course of theirs titled “Navigating Extraordinary Times”. This course is part of PowerED, a new award-winning, entrepreneurial unit within AU focusing on online professional development courses and certificates. AU itself is a world-leading digital university that offers certificates, undergraduate degrees, as well as masters programs, all from the comfort of your own home.
The reason we decided to take this course was simple. What we are all going through as business owners and entrepreneurs are nothing we have seen before. No one knows what will happen next and if there is a course, workshop, or event that can help us as leaders navigate these extraordinary times then we want to take it.
Now that we have finished the course and went through all of the content we wanted to share a few of our key takeaways. We feel it’s such a valuable free resource for entrepreneurs and leaders to take, and the fact that the course can be finished in a few hours was time well spent.
Takeaway #1 – Work to Be Proactive vs Reactive
Most of what happens to us in business and life are uncontrollable. Nobody planned to shut down the entire world economy for months on end because of a novel virus that spread across the globe, but it happened. You had no control over that. What we do have control over is how we react to situations after they happen.
To show your team the way during the current times you need to realize that there are factors in life that are just beyond our control. What we do have control of as leaders are our behaviors and decisions that we choose to make for ourselves and our businesses.
“Being proactive recognizes that you are a product of your decisions, not your circumstance.”
To make it out of any uncertainty in your life or business, strive to be more proactive vs being reactive to what is happening around you. We are still in control and if you keep that in your head as a leader and lead your team with this conviction, I’d bet your team will follow you and prosper.
Takeaway #2 – Strengthen Your Team Communication
If our regular working arrangement gets interrupted in any way shape or form there is one way to make it out unscathed. Increase communication and collaboration between team members, peers, partners, and stakeholders within our businesses.
With everyone working remotely and on their own schedules (to some degree), it can be hard to put a grip on keeping your team and business together. A lot harder than if you are all used to being in one office within a few feet from each other.
To combat this, you must strengthen communication within your team. Don’t use this as a time for everyone to have their own agendas and things to do; this will create separation within your business.
People are looking for answers to their questions right now and as a leader and manager, you need to facilitate this as best you can. Having office hours at different times during the day to just be there for your employees is something small you can do. We also suggest encouraging team members to have virtual happy hours, and times to just connect with each other as they did back in the office.
“Create as comfortable as an atmosphere as you can in a virtual environment to help increase your team’s productivity.”
Make sure there is a messaging platform app like Slack or Microsoft Teams being used within your team to facilitate easier communication than email. If all you are using to talk with your employees is email, you need to stop right away.
Slack is free and allows your team to chat in real-time, getting rid of the back and forth unproductive use of emails within your business. Team communication during times of uncertainty is crucial to help everyone get through tough times.
Your employees are thinking of their safety as well as their families, how to pay their bills, but also managing the stress of being a parent, employee, father, mother, etc. Remember, use this time to strengthen communication within your team and be there for them. This is how you will make it through as a business and a leader.
Takeaway #3: Be Open to Change & Innovation
When times are tough and uncertain in business or life, it usually means one thing is urgently needed: change.
Change can be one of the toughest actions to take for anyone let alone a business owner. Especially a business that before a global crisis was prospering and achieving growth but within a matter of days and weeks saw their revenue drop completely and business collapse.
The reality is, though, when uncertain times strike, like people are experiencing today, change is necessary. In order for any business to succeed in today’s technology-centric world, you have to constantly be adapting and innovating.
In order to lead your business and team out of any type of pandemic or major global event, you must change and innovate. You need to think about what the world will be like when it starts getting back to normal, or what it is like now, and adjust your offerings.
Or perhaps you need to start looking at what the new normal could be. Sometimes there is a new piece of technology or a product or service that will be in huge demand because of what the world just experienced.
“Don’t be averse to change; instead, be the instigator of change.”
Be the leader within your industry that takes a stance. Great examples of these recently are both Twitter and Shopify, two of the biggest and most valuable businesses in the world announcing that their global workforces are allowed to start working remotely indefinitely.
They realize that the future of work is not pushing people to be in one location, all day, for five days a week. It is for some people, but not all. Shopify realized this and took a stance, and this is a positive step for their organization that will be well received and looked back on in future years as a wise leadership move.
No matter what business challenge you are currently facing, we think anyone could benefit from taking AU’s free 90-minute PowerED course, “Navigating Extraordinary Times”.
We highly recommend it for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and any leaders or managers that are having trouble finding the answers on how to lead their teams through the uncertainty we are all facing.