Five proverb-inspired leadership lessons to navigate through COVID-19

Proverb

By Kyounghee Choi

As you navigate through these uncertain times, there are no perfect guides or advisors given the unexpected and uncharted crisis. Successful leaders will need to continuously explore opportunities, try them and fast fail to maximize rapid learning cycles. As leaders digest massive amounts of information through various media sources to set the course for tomorrow, there is one critical challenge. As Art Buchwald, an American columnist once said, “Television has a real problem. They have no page two.” Leaders always think about page two, that is, what happens next and how to connect the dots to find your path forward. In this blog, I want to share some perspectives through the use of proverbs.
1. “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”: Invest in your team
While I understand the multitude of pressures that leaders face in uncertain times, prior to solving key business challenges, leaders need to guide and develop their teams, particularly their highest performers. Goals won’t be achieved alone. These are great times to help grow leadership skills in others, particularly around crisis management.

2. “Jack of all trades and master of none”: Set your roadmap
In crisis and uncertainty, there are always so many things to focus on and so many decisions that need to be made. It’s critical for leader to set goals and prioritize daily what is most important to focus on in the short term. Deprioritize everything that is not urgent and critically important. Time is of essence. Try to build a roadmap to look at the big picture but focus on what’s important now.

3. “Don’t cry before you are hurt”: Be prepared but don’t panic
When an unexpected event comes and brings uncertain times it’s a common response to experience anxiety, panic and stress. A lot of people can lose their footing when such stress responses are triggered. Leaders should always prepare for good and tough times and a plurality of scenarios.

4. “A stitch in time saves nine”: Don’t miss the opportunity
In any business crisis, there is always an opportunity. It’s the other side of the coin. If you think positively and keep focused on strengths and opportunities within your business, looking for what is really important, you will find opportunities within this storm. Focus on these and keep executing swiftly.

5. “A friend in need is a friend indeed”: Help others
In hard times, it’s important to find ways to help others. There are so many examples of this happening at the moment but also examples of the exact opposite. Leaders need to find ways to help others, our broader society and our clients. After all, everyone is going through the same storm. Your help today can yield immense benefits at a later date.

At Propulo, we understand the challenges that you are facing, and our team is here to help and support you with pro bono resources and guidance to help guide you. We have committed to not profit in any way from this crisis but recognize that our skills and resources can help guide others.