On the 17th April 2020, I was part of a Zoom conference, attended by more than 85 participants from around the world. It was a think tank, engaging with each other and hosted by Dean van Leeuwen an astute futurist and business TEDx speaker.
The topic of discussion was “How smart leaders are adapting to the next normal”. The guest was Grant Schreiber – a South African author, editor, publisher and founding editor of Real Leaders, a leadership magazine that focuses exclusively on sustainability and ethical business.
The following is a summary of the discussions and opinions.
What are smart leaders doing now? Showing lots of Empathy! They have the ability to understand the emotional make-up of other people and have the skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions. People are going through lots of emotional trauma and grief, and leaders – now more than ever before, need to have that “generosity of spirit”. They need to have an “extended family mentality”.
Leaders are becoming more human. People will ask,” Where were you during the lock-down”? “Did you help?” Leaders need to be real advocates for helping people and society.
Business and society are now firmly linked. Philanthropy and charity should be embedded in the purpose and values of organisations. Companies need to re-look their values and values need to reflect more of serving mankind and not only shareholders, staff and customers.
Leaders are realising that they cannot work on their own to resolve issues. They are gathering a team of problem-solvers around them, because they realise people need help. They are not swamped by these emotions but they come up with clear solutions.
Leaders are encouraging staff to WFH, the new acronym for “WORKING FROM HOME”, where possible.
The world has moved towards digitalisation. One can see this by the increase in online traffic and this will continue. Communication via Zoom, Skype, WeBex, Gotomeeting and Whatsapp is booming – becoming the new norm for socialising.
Leaders are looking at supply chains and asking how it can be changed to accommodate this new world of work? The challenge is – how do you influence people by sitting at home? A large part of leadership is influence.
There is now a proliferation of studying and learning from home opportunities, more so than ever before. Learning and studying from home will become the new norm.
In every crisis there is opportunity. There are many examples of this. During the war, Coca Cola wanted to distribute their products to the frontline. To do this they opened up distribution hubs. After the war this served as distribution centres and gave them an advantage over others.
We must not embed the words “social distancing”. The correct word is physical distancing + social connecting. #Togetherapart
This is now our Kairos moment – a propitious moment for decision and action as we enter the new normalcy. Some brave decisions are required from leaders. Old habits and old behaviour need to change and bold new decisions are required.
From the comfort and safety of your home, you can now learn how to develop your Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), by signing up to NQF5: THE IMPACT OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE.
To find out more, click here.
Author: Gerald McKinnon : Director at ODI