Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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The ripple effects of the COVID-19 crisis has been felt across all levels of industry and society, with hundreds of thousands of lives disrupted. Even as vaccines start to be made available, it must be said that the end is still not in sight, and we must remain vigilant even as we enter a new calendar year.

For leaders of industry or civil society, 4 specific actions are an imperative if they are to deliver an effective response to this ongoing crisis as highlighted by Gartner.

Keep choices and priorities clear

In dynamic situations such as the events of 2020, clearly setting out priorities is key quick responses. Additionally democratizing the decision-making process helps managers make the best decisions possible. Where there is a need to centralize decision-making, guidelines can be set for authorization.

Prioritising changes is better than just creating a bucket list of priorities, else a lack of clarity could lead to teams pulling in contradictory directions. Crystal clear prioritization is important at all time, but even more so in times of upheaval.

Broaden your problem-solving approach

It’s all too easy to look at the world in shades of black and white, you or me, this or that, yin and yang, and so on. But this is a very primitive way of approaching a problem, and reducing it to a binary approach.

Many leaders will have been faced with the prospect of letting go of staff (and the humanitarian cost of it), or ensuring no on is let go, at the cost of business margins. But what if there were more options beyond a two-pronged approach?

Some leaders have thought out-of-the-box, and reduced full-time work for a portion of the workforce, or explored early retirement options for some, or taken pay cuts at a senior level to ensure the financial hit of the pandemic is minimised. Creative, non-binary solutions can solve a glut of problems that crop up in a crisis, and ease troubled waters for stressed-out customers and all stakeholders alike.

Honesty, the best policy

Taking a softer touch would be the prudent approach for this pandemic as a humane approach would be the best way to approach the devastation left in the wake of the pandemic. Honesty, clarity and empathy are the key pillars of communication in this crisis.

We live in an age of information overload, and it often becomes difficult to ascertain the veracity of any given piece of information. Being honest and transparent will build the trust placed in you. Think of how your audience will take in what you have to say. Empathy is essential, as is clarity of communication.

Tell your stories

Since time immemorial, humankind has chronicled their stories big and small for all to follow. Think of the cavemen of yore, scrawling their tales on the walls of their caves. Or of today’s generation, sharing every scrap of information from their lives for all. Why should your organization be any different? If a team or individual has done something noteworthy that needs a bigger audience, give that feat a voice, and spread the word far and wide.

Humans respond to the details of a story, so unfold your narrative. No matter whether it’s a serious one of teams toiling late into the night, or humorous ones of children and pets interrupting a millionth Zoom call. Stories matter, and it’s essential to give them the platform they deserve.

COVID’s impact has been profound, but it can be managed with strong, decisive leadership that shows the way. Good leaders come to the fore in times of adversity, and this is time for them to shine and show the way for all.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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