On the 15th March the Prime Minister announced the National Cabinet response to COVID-19. Suddenly we had no template and everything we thought we knew doesn’t apply, and quite abruptly we’re wading into some very murky and unchartered waters.
During times of uncertainty, everyone in an organisation takes their cues from the leadership team. Often, challenging times can reveal the true character of a business and its leaders – for better or worse.
So, what does good leadership look like in such an unprecedented crisis?
In our latest Disruption Circle video conference, we invited someone who knows just how to answer this question. Klaus Duetoft is Vice President People International at eBay Inc and has geographic responsibility for AP, major Asian countries along with some other international markets. In addition, he is a member of the eBay Inc Global People Leadership team. He, along with a group of prominent HR leaders discussed the key qualities and behaviours leaders should be channelling to guide their organisation through COVID-19 and the inevitable instability of the post-Corona future.
To Klaus, it seems that the old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’ is very much at the crux of a leader’s successful navigation through the disruption that comes with COVID-19. The most important fact remains that your team will remember the way you responded during this period, so make your behaviour deliberate and measured, and then learn how to future-proof.
Leading through a crisis, with no guidebook
COVID-19 is probably the most disruptive event to touch most of the current workforce’s lifetime. Harder still, HR leaders don’t have an instruction manual on this one. Suddenly face-to-face interaction has been replaced with screens, and the off the record, casual chats you might have had with teams to check in on their wellbeing, their families, their hobbies has disappeared. Many of the tools usually at our disposal to temperature check the workplace environment are not available to us at the momen