As we hit the one-year mark since the Covid-19 pandemic first swept the world, many CEOs are looking at how to navigate the next year. Leaders face challenges on a daily basis regardless of the landscape. But there are extra considerations as we map out the road to recovery and adjust to working life throughout the pandemic and beyond.
The key word during the current climate, and behind every business decision, is uncertainty. It has always been difficult to predict outcomes, but the pandemic has amplified this on a much greater scale. We’re unsure when things will truly return to ‘normal’, if at all. We don’t know the direction of the economy. And we don’t know how consumers will react. Everything we thought we knew has gone out of the window and we can no longer rely on things that worked for us previously. CEOs are having to rely on their own judgment and learning to adapt swiftly and effectively in order to make the best decisions.
Exhaustion levels are at an all time low. Zoom fatigue, isolation, and the stress of balancing home and work life has many people completely burnt out. More than ever, it’s important for CEOs to take the time to boost morale amongst the workforce before it’s too late. Employees will remember how they were treated during a difficult time and the question of whether they stay loyal or not will depend on this. CEOs and those in leadership positions should be connecting with team members on an individual and personal level – and in a unique way, outside of the usual routine.
One of the biggest challenges for CEOs currently is making sure that remote work, works. Embracing collaboration tools and making sure that team members are all on the same page is vital. Maintaining appropriate levels of communication and visibility is also key. Too many check-ins and zoom calls is not only tiring and unproductive, but also micro-managing. Yet too few can cause feelings of disconnect and isolation. Being aware of individual circumstances in relation to remote work is also important, and flexibility will be a big part of the world of work going forward.
And it’s not just team members that leaders should be concerned about. These long periods of unexpected change have meant that CEOs must deeply understand how these changes are affecting their customers. Have their client’s preferences shifted? What do they need right now? How can the business help them? Taking the time to adapt to changing customer behaviours will result in better services and products, and better customer experiences in the long-run.
One of the biggest challenges that remains for those in leadership positions today is growing their organisations. Across the globe, a huge percentage of businesses have witnessed a reduction in revenue due to the pandemic. Some businesses have been forced to close, and others are operating on skeleton staff. Bouncing back is not something that can be achieved quickly – but with new growth strategies, jumping on the back of demand, and re-engaging with consumers, there are opportunities to strengthen and rebuild.
CEO coaching is tailored specifically around the individual’s needs and their own set of challenges. Leading yourself, as well as the organisations you run, is rarely a simple process, particularly with high levels of uncertainty and unprecedented challenges. Executive coaching provides a safe space to explore various leadership topics, as well as unearthing blind spots in leadership behaviour – which can become harmful to business performance if left uncovered.
There is no doubt that the last year has been incredibly tough, and the challenges that CEOs and leaders have had to face are ones we have never seen before. And whilst we must be compassionate and sensitive to the feelings of our employees to ensure we retain talent, we must also manage our own fatigue and become self-aware of our own behaviours in order to drive organisations to long-term success.