How resilient are we?
As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak been classified as a worldwide pandemic and in response to emerging threats, many authorities ordered protective measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. Schools were closed, businesses, restaurants and public areas are restricted - all in an effort - to reduce contact and limit the spread of the virus.
Has that taken a toll on most of us? The answer is yes. However, it has also brought up many opportunities. The main driver of all the what’s and the how’s in dealing with the situation rely heavily on our ability to adapt, in other words how agile have we been and can be.
In this article we would deviate from the most common work & business related impacts – thought it is referenced here and there - and focus on the personal factors, with key discussion areas:
  • Personal Safety
  • Going Digital
  • Authority Distribution
  • Continuity and planning for it.
  • Leadership
All in an effort to test our adaptability, the ability to cope and prepare for the future.
Personal Safety and Health
Most successful workplace safety policies have been supported by raising awareness and creating a culture as Safety is a mindset - Policies are just words and if they’re not followed, they don’t keep people safe. It takes personnel with the right attitude to turn safety policies into real safety, and now more than ever the safe mindset has helped reduce the risks, but do we have it?

To help answer the question look for the following behavioral attitudes.

- Are you aware of your surroundings?
- Do you know your limitations, what can you and can’t you do?
- Do you read those instructions; do you follow recommendations?
- Do you talk about it? Would you admit what you have done wrong and what happened for others to learn from?

The answers to these questions can quite easily be linked to what we do anywhere – the idea here is to test the safe mindset, and yes, we can be safe in everything that we do, follow recommendations, take precautionary measures, stay alert to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
We always told workers that your loved ones expect you to go home safely, and now it's time we say we expect you to come back to work safely.

Going Digital
The recent trends on Digital transforming has taken a much more expedited route post Covid-19 breakouts in order to cope with the situation and the different restrictions in the fight against the Virus, but what is Digital Transformation? And why is it more important than ever to transform digitally. For business - Digital Transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create or optimize business processes to improve the company and customer experience and meet changing demands and market requirements. In other words, it’s the process of restructuring how and where a business digitally meets its customers in order to fit the need.
But is that where the benefit stops? And how about the personal side of things?
Digital transformation requires removing silos and shifting the way of thinking, It doesn’t only mean adapting to new technologies, but also taking into account the changing needs, shifts in society, and how fast demands can be met and problems can be solved. Providing a boost to our adapting nature for our everchanging demands, especially when it comes to fulfilling our basic needs for security, safety, and wellbeing.
Let us all take the lessons learnt from the pandemic and how more technologically connected societies managed to stay ahead and cope much faster, had it been; remote working, being able to order house needs online or simple stay connected to loved ones. Do not be left behind. If you want to stay relevant in the modern age and catch up to the rapidly changing industries, you need to take a deep dive into Digital Transformation.

Distributed Authority
Given the fact that all companies and organizations are working remotely and must adapt to not having people physically available to meet and discuss, it is then a challenge to decide solely as a leader. Therefore, distributing the authority to making decisions or taking on responsibilities, whether it is on a social level or business level is very important. That is, if one member is unavailable to decide, other leaders would be able to make it on their behalf.

When you are using a distributed leadership style, you are working to push the authority deeper into the organization. You want to have it distributed throughout the company to give people directed responsibilities. Rather than being a uniform hierarchy of formal authority, people’s positioning in relation to these authorities should be dynamic and changeable.
The concept of Authority distribution is often missed in our personal lives “Taken for granted” and now more than ever we recommend that people take more awareness into the daily tasks and plan for more resilient future within their immediate circles.

Continuity Planning
Excellent communication skills play an extremely important role in creating a workplace atmosphere that drives a positive experience and support teams' productivity. The team is the biggest determinant in how fast a company copes with a crisis such as covid-19.

The International Labor Organization has categorized the 4 important elements that companies need to evaluate when preparing a business continuity plan. They are called the 4 Ps:
• People: lives of workers and family members
• Processes: enterprise operations
• Profits: revenue generation
• Partnerships: enabling environment to carry out business operations
Notice how People are the first added element as employees are going to be the biggest determinant in how fast and how well an organization recovers from a crisis therefore, it is the most important asset to maintain. Thereafter, companies are now reorganizing their teams and policies to create a safe working environment and to drive positive employee experience.
As for the Processes they go hand in hand with adjustments that pertain to people and their wellbeing. One of the main adjustments companies must make / already made is to expand flexible work arrangements and other policies that allow people to work remotely and safely.
Profit and Partnership, needles to say the profit is the core reason for why a lot businesses exist in the first place, the interdependencies amongst different businesses for the economy cycle to keep going is a vital factor to keep in mind while dealing with adapted changes. In other words, not only we need to sustain, but other related business need also to sustain for us to keep going.
Recent studies shows that the markets are taking a shift in the approach towards the current global market situations, where more and more partnerships in a form or another are being formed to cope with certain limitations.
Another vital trend to keep on the lookout, is that more and more companies are shifting towards the freelancers and using services of small enterprises rather than having their own employees, why some may ask? And the answers is simple; using freelancers have three major advantages and those are; Ease of entry , affordability and digital technology readiness. To focus on the last point, studies have also shown that more and more employees are seeking additional freelancing jobs given the remote capabilities presented these days and the flexibility that is gained by working from home.
We can go and on discussing the new business trends. However, A carefully thought-out business continuity plan will make coping in a crisis easier, only if this business plan is dynamic and will consider the newly evolving trends during and after that crisis, and so shall each and every one of us .

Leadership. Matters More Than Ever
Why certain businesses managed to cope better than others? The answer to the questions involves tremendous different variables that played a role in the success to continue and cope with the drastic changes that resulted from the pandemic, but one most vital variable that sticks out amongst them is the leadership style.

Some of the most common leadership styles where leaders find themselves fall into are:
  • Autocratic: rigid, but excellent when speed of decision-making and execution is needed.
  • Charismatic: has vision and can influence and inspire others.
  • Transformational: often focuses on productivity and influencing people to work harder.
  • Laissez-faire: allows a high level of autonomy and encourages team members to solve problems themselves.
  • Transactional: roles are well-defined and structure enables progression in employees.
  • Supportive: provides employees with the skills, support and coaching to succeed.
  • Democratic: does everything by committee, involving everyone.
Despite the fact that some leaders would have more than just one style, they often find themselves fall more into one than the other, but what leadership styles has worked with the new ways of work and what hasn’t?
The leadership styles that have better leverage to thrive during the crisis are:
The Charismatic
The one to find new opportunities and inspire a team to work hard to chase them down. This leader will always find few new opportunities, get his team to follow them all and then really pin down the two with the most potential to be successful, creating a true new opportunity out of emerging circumstances.
The Transformational
Works best in organization where the opportunities are clearly established, this leader focuses on what is in hand and drive it forward by encouraging hard work and focus. These leaders take lesser risks than Charismatic leaders, but once they know where they are going, they follow one path religiously as productivity is the name of their game.
The Supportive
The Supportive leader will take a different track from Transformational leader. However, the end result is the same: an appropriately skilled team working towards a common goal., focusing on how everyone can maximize the opportunities in hand. Ensuring that the professional and personal needs of the employees are well considered, with a focus on their mental wellbeing.
The Democratic
Many organizations are led by this leadership group and where a true Democratic leader is functioning, it will most likely result in successful outcomes during the lockdown as the teams are fully involved in the response to the crisis.
Keeping in mind that Leaders often have a mix of styles leading teams and a good leader will engage different styles to successfully lead their group in emerging circumstances, the following leaders have struggled a bit on the early stages of the crisis and should focus more on the current situation to adapt new technics to go through the crises:
The Laissez-faire
These are brave leaders who look at their team and decides that they are more than capable of solving their own problems. However, this may have been less helpful during lockdown, especially if an organization is client based, but if clarity of purpose is returning, the Laissez-faire leader’s teams will be tested, later on energized and ready to get stuck in once more, because the team feels that they are in charge of their own destiny.
The Autocratic
Though this leadership style is very much out of place, it truly isn’t. In organizations where big decisions must be made often, it is often the only way to ensure speed. Where the lockdown was undefined, the need for speed dissipated, but now things are picking up. Thus, this type of leadership might be ideal for some organizations and will help them respond quickly to new opportunities as they come.
The Transactional
Though can seem quite outmoded in newer areas of the economy, many employees feel safest in organizations where their steps to progression are clear and their remuneration is firmly on a grid. There has been a great deal of furloughing in transactional leadership organizations. However, once they have climbed over the hump of bringing back furloughed staff, they will be able to prosper again, with renewed energy coming from those returning to work.

Leadership. Commitment & Continuity

All of us have gained lessons learnt and a have a list of what worked better in adapting to the crisis with all its uncertainties and the secret recipe - the most powerful factor - to success in any leadership style is trust, building trust is essential for leadership in all directions; upward, downward, and sideways that is. How can you build trust and enhance it?
Research has shown that the most common ways to build trust are:

Demonstrating Competence:
Showing and acting on what you preach, with more and more uncertainty developing with the crisis, this task becomes harder to fulfill by most leaders. However, there are way that can support leaders in maintaining their competent reputation during these uncertain times, and that is going back to basic principles;
  • Dig deep and be ready to explain the why’s and the how’s behind your decisions
  • Stay positive,
  • Focus on the solutions rather than the problems
A leader who offers concrete solutions, drills down below the surface, and provides supporting material in the form of data and expert input builds credibility and demonstrates a commitment to complete information. A leader who makes blanket statements with no support, operates on hunches rather than data to downplay what is really happening, is far less credible.

Use Common Ethics:
In simple words be real and be accountable. Be Real as authentic communication speaks to a leader’s ethics and integrity. When leaders put on airs or communicate differently to different audiences, audiences begin to wonder what they’re hiding. Now more than ever, leaders must focus on congruence, bringing their true selves to every audience. When it comes to communication skills, there is a direct relation between leaders’ authenticity and their ability to build trust with their teams.
Be Accountable as trusted leaders quickly and definitively accept any errors committed as their own and then address the steps required to rectify and move forward instead of dwelling on past errors or pointing fingers. And yes, use language the makes you more connected to the subject to demonstrate your accountability to your team.

Communicating Effectively:
Effective communication is key to maintaining the trust that was built rather than building it, People are desperately searching for leaders they can trust to guide them through this crisis, becoming that leader and developing that trust begins with the way you communicate as a leader.

Most of what we discussed in this article pertains to aspects that although are mainly applied in business life, they can simply be applied in our personal lives when taken on a smaller scale; had it been immediate family, neighborhood, or far acquaintances that need support.
The key take-away of our article is to be alert, adaptive, follow trends, keep on learning and be ready for what is next. The ways we work today are different from what they were ten or twenty years ago, and they will be different on a much faster scale in the near future. We wish everyone a safe journey, adaptive lifestyle and for the utmost positive outcome post the crisis.